The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Seen and heard at the Dr’s office today.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 5:10 pm on Tuesday, June 16, 2009

About 3 years ago my OB GYN guy retired.  PC was bummed because he was a great physician and I was not looking to find a new MD for my darkest most parts.  Time being what it is, I finally broke down and went to see the Doc my records were sent to.  For the record, he was great.  I was in and out of there (no pun intended) in less than 30 minutes. My kind of dr visit.

Before going in however, I got to fill out the battery of forms for insurance, health history and what not.  I was alone in the wait room and their phone rang.  I couldn’t NOT overhear, and it was an interesting conversation.  No HIPAA violations were noted.  It was a man calling on behalf of his wife (WHY??) who had received a positive pregnancy test.  They wanted to see the dr…a specific female dr that was of their same descent.  All I heard was this lady’s first name which was definitely not main stream American. 

 I could hear the secretary (can you call them secretaries??) offer up two dates:  June 20 for initial consultation with NO ultrasound available that day OR July 6 with consultation AND ultrasound. NOW, have you ever noticed that when some people are offered their choices (whatever they may be in life) that they will always want an option NOT offered to them??  This is one of those guys.  He wanted a June date with ultrasound.…There was NO June date with ultrasound….

I am trying to focus on my form…”Have you ever had nonconsenual sex”…..does that include my creepy boyfriend from high school?…probably not.  check NO.  No, sir, we do not have June availability with an ultrasound,  Dr  Schmitza is  booked until July 6.  Yes, sir that is the earliest she can see your wife, unless you would like a different Dr.  Yes Sir, I understand you want to see Dr Schmitza.  “Was your last sexual partner male or female…..(whoa times HAVE changed,  that question wasn’t on my forms 20 years ago…) check MALE.  Yes sir, you are responsible for all charges not covered by your insurance and maternity charges must be paid before the birth. 

She really went on and on with this guy.  I am just giving you the condensed version.  She must have offered up those same two dates 5 or six times before he settled on one of them.  AND the entire billing process was spelled out multiple times.  He was not getting it.  I think he wanted everything free because he had insurance.   Even I had a firm grasp on it and I am not pregnant and heard only one side of the conversation.   I finally completed my last few questions “do you have multiple sex partners”…check NO  (if you sleep with a schizophrenic with multiple personalities, would that be considered multiple sex partners??…nah probably not).

Over hearing this conversation just reminded me that these circular and seemingly never ending conversations are not limited to the pharmacy.  This same guy is probably the dude who will bug you for non drowsy Benadryl and will dog you until you die of exhaustion or you give it to him, or the one who insists that Lipitor has a generic because its written Atorvastatin.  He will require you explain simple concepts to him over and over and then HE will repeat it back to you…incorrectly. He will want to schedule his flu shot before work…at 8 am and won’t take no for an answer even tho you are CLOSED at 8 am!  He will demand an indepth consultation over which stool softener works better.  DSS or Docusate Calcium.  He is the one who thinks that “covered” means “free”and thinks you are ripping him off for the copay, and he is also the guy who thinks that if he gets only 2 weeks of Nexium instead of a  month, that his copay should be half…and on and on.

The good news is, I am out of there until next year  but I have to have a mammogram (frozen glass torture device).  The better news is,  I am not that guys wife!


Comment by Dr. Grumpy

June 16, 2009 @ 5:48 pm

We all get these gems, my dear. Remember what Frank Zappa said:

“There are only 2 things that are universal: Hydrogen and stupidity”.

Comment by RxMomma

June 16, 2009 @ 9:11 pm

I really like that quote! I’ve been doing pharmacy now for 23 years and I’m still amazed at the general stupidity of the public. The average IQ is abysmally low I think. That is one perk of hospital work….. you get to work with folks who, by and large, have above average IQ’s (excluding a few dim bulbs you get everywhere…. like the one admission clerk who always spells the dx of vomiting as “vomitting”!!!!!)

Comment by The Ole' Apothecary

June 19, 2009 @ 8:52 am

“…and acceptance is the answer for all my problems today…I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”


Those same people have been walking into pharmacies since Romeo asked the apothecary for poison in Shakespeare’s play. When your front door is open to the public street, the public street will enter. And the public does not know or care what our responsibilities are; they will fight hard for their own personal interests, ragardless of what we try to explain to them. It not be that they don’t understand as much as they don’t want to listen or accept what you are saying.

I had that argument over the generic name more than once. If the drug has a generic name, then in must be available as a less expensive generic equivalent product, they believe. BTW, anybody here get accused of taking kickbacks when the prescription price is high? The accuser stands there acting convinced of it, too.

IMHO, part of the patient’s refusal to accept the presented reality in a pharmacy is that he/she is standing in a retail store, with a P.A. system and a toy aisle. They are not in healthcare environment that they recognize as such. THEY ARE SHOPPING! So, all the more, they are in a dickering, argumentative state of mind. That’s how it is.

Comment by chris

June 22, 2009 @ 5:41 am

I love the issue with patient confidentiality, whatever happened to that? If i go into the doctor and wait in line, there is no attempt to be private, if people come into my pharmacy and wait, they are waiting about 3 metres from where to company decided to put my (not cordless) phone and fax machine

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