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Monday, July 16, 2007

Phone-y Bologna (that's bo-lo-nee not bo-log-na)

Ah yes, as does each day bring with it a slew of inevitable conundrums it also brings with it a battalion of cell-phone toting morons. These modern-day techno warriors brandish their shiny flashy weapons at the first instant of trouble as if it were a security blanket that kept them warm and safe from all the evils the pharmacy holds.

1. Pharmacist: "The insurance card you brought in says the coverage expired on the 30th of last month."

Moron dialing cell: "Moooomm, my medicaid card isn't working. The lady said it expired or something and she won't give me my Accutane."

Boo Hoo....acne is lethal, you know...should have updated the info on your 4 children so I don't have to hear the whining from your 16 year old son who could pass for castrati. (castrati: young boys who were castrated to preserve their angelic singing voices into adulthood)

2. Pharmacist: "The refills on this prescription have expired. We will need to call the doctor in the morning."

Moron dialing cell: "{insert moron's wife's name here}, the lady said my refills expired on my Lunesta. Aren't there still refills listed on the bottle?"

Moron hands me his cell phone so his wife can tell me that the bottle says 2 refills before 6/03/07. I ever so politely let her know that today is 7/12/07 and that the refills are expired so we will have to call the doctor. I hand the phone back to Moron.

Moron: "Can I get a couple to hold me over?"

You can guess where this is going.....Denied.

3. Pharmacist: "Your copay is $100.57."

Moron: "My dad has Medicare to cover that. It was a lot cheaper last month." Moron dials his dad. "Dad they are trying to charge me $100.57 for your Lipitor. It wasn't this much last month." ...conversation drags on...

Obviously their handy dandy insurance agent signed pops up for Medicare Part D and never explained the "Donut hole." Lucky me. Guess what I spent the next 30, count 'em, 30 minutes explaining. Thank you government!

There really needs to be a cellular dead zone encompassing my workplace. Not only do cellular phones violate HIPPA they irritate the shit out of the pharmacy staff. I do not like touching your oil-smeared crusty phone. Who knows where you and it have been. Call me on the store line, Assclown!!! I will be appreciative and you will actually be able to hear what I am saying.



webhill said...

Don't get me wrong - I believe it's generally inappropriate to use a cell phone while attempting to conduct a business transaction. However, I also believe they have a place, and I'm curious why you believe they violate HIPAA? I disagree that they do. After all, it is the customer's privacy, and the customer by virtue of making the telephone call is choosing to allow sharing of his or her information. Can you point me to some documentation showing otherwise? I would very much appreciate it. Thanks!

Mc RPh said...

Oh my god... I HATE it when they hand me their nasty, greasy cell phones. I usually refuse, politely at first. When they press the issue, they find out what a prissy twat their pharmacist actually is. NO! I do not want head scabies!

RXkerber said...

I agree with McRPh. Except I don't think I politely refuse at first. I outright tell them to call me on our regular phone. If they press it, I tell them I don't want to share germs. It's a miracle I haven't been written up on that one yet.

FDPharmD said...

I let them know that I do not talk on other people's cell phones. The person they are calling can kindly call me on my phone here in the pharmacy.

If it is the "doctor's office" and they want me to take the prescription, I tell them that the doc has the number they can call it in if they would like. I usually get the "I have them right here on the phone!" Yeah, or you have your buddy, I don't know!

Damn kids. Thankfully only a couple of cell phone companies work around my pharmacy, and usually only IN the pharmacy, about 3 feet outside is a nice little dead zone!

PharmTechie! said...

Is it honestly against HIPAA? I'm a pharmacy student, and I tech at a few pharmacies in the Boston area (ohh, the joys of being a floater tech), and I've never gotten a straight answer from a pharmacist on this. I've used it myself with customers before as an excuse, but I was honestly just saying it because I think it's terribly rude (which is probably awful of me in a customer service sense, but...a pharmacy is not a burger king, no matter how people think it should be).

Anonymous said...

Not too long ago some lady tried to get the pharmacist in my store to take lady's bluetooth earpiece for the cell phone and stick it into her ear to talk to lady's husband about an insurance issue! Why do people not realize how gross this is??

Mc RPh said...

webill... I don't recall a specific mention of cell phone etiquette in any of the fascinating literature that corresponds with the HIPAA guidelines (although human decency would dictate that you hang the damn thing up for the minute it takes you at the counter). However, you do raise a valid point that must be considered. =)

In my opinion, it is the responsibility of the pharmacist to insure that reasonable privacy conditions are met. Discussing a patient's medical condition(s)/profile while they are on a cell phone does not indicate to me that I have made a reasonable attempt to give this patient their privacy (whether they realize it or not). In fact, it will not be the patient who suffers repercussions if a privacy violation occurs - it will be the pharmacist!

Although in cases like these, my customers automatically forfeit my offer to counsel (OBRA be damned). Instead, they get a 'Call me with any questions' and I walk away. After all, I'd hate to interrupt their important phone call with a lesson on how they got ass herpes in the first place.

Big 'N Tasty RPH said...

When three people are standing in close proximity, all talking on cell phones, there is absolutely no way to guarantee that 9 people aren't hearing your business during a consultation. I pretty much tell everyone to read the patient handout and call me if they have any questions. That is the best way to ensure patient privacy and it still meets the "offer to counsel" required by law. I do have many patients who prefer phone consultation because they don't feel like people are staring at them or listening to them so they are more comfortable asking questions and thus get a more elaborate and fulfilling consultation. It the system sucks, make it work, Miss Thing!

Kim said...

At my pharmacy, if someone is picking up or dropping off, we say "We'll wait till you're off the phone for privacy reasons" and refuse to help them until they are off the phone. They always comply. It's not worth it to me to either:
A)Get a lawsuit because someone on the phone overheard the person is getting Valtrex, or
B)Get a lawsuit for someone not getting counseled on their medication properly (and then something bad happening from lack or counseling) because THEY were being asses and talking on their cell phone.

So I think it's less HIPAA and more anti-lawsuit. Regardless, if you're on your phone, I'm not helping you. =)

Big 'N Tasty RPH said...

Sometimes it is fun to tell people you have lip herpes so you don't think it would be hygenic to use their cell phone.

SSS said...

put up a sign in regional chain i used to work in---please finish cell phone conversations before approaching counter---DM say take it down as it's too rude---well, 'scuse tha' hell outa me!!!--i no longer work for them, due to other stoopid reasons also---after 20 + yrs, i just do relief now, rphs glad to get day off, take care of techs, screw the rest, run clean & legal, never worked ANYWHERE that i haven't been asked to come back---including dummy DM above---do it right, it doesn't matter how i act, right is right and wrong is wrong, some have no manners and most of them come into drugstores---i might last maybe 5 more years, really unsure---keep up the great word work!!!

Anonymous said...

THANKS A LOT. Within four days I have been handed a cell phone twice. "I have the doctor's office on the phone." I hate that. The first time I knew it was coming...I told the customer before she started calling her doctor "have the doctor call directly to the pharmacy." And it just happened 10 minutes ago two. The phone was warm and moist from its owner when he handed it to me.
Maybe i'll try the "I have lip herpes" line. I don't want to argue with customers or appear rude, but THEY'RE rude to do it to me.

BTW...your blog is new to me. I love it!

Big 'N Tasty RPH said...

Lip herpes works every time! No cell calls for me!