Eric, Pharmacist, wrote a nice piece in Drug Topics recently about loyalty cards. If you haven’t read it yet, click on his link on the blog roll you’ll find it there. It got me thinking about the darn things and lacking anything really INTERESTING to write about today, I just decided to steal his own topic and simply add to it. I’ll admit it, I have no shame…
If I HAD to choose between either samples from the doctors office and the loyalty cards, I suppose I would choose the loyalty cards for the simple reason that I get NO money for samples that come from the doctors office but I do at least generate a sale from the latter. That being said, let me make this perfectly clear….Loyalty cards are a colossal pain in the Chick’s rear.
To clarify…if its not clear enough..I don’t really mind the one-time-here-its-free cards. Take the card, get your one month free supply of ExpensO-RXatrol and we are done. Finito, Over and out. I never have to think about that transaction again. Granted, there are a few brain trusts out there that seem to conveniently forget that the card provided only a one month free supply and wonder rudely the next month “WHY do I have a $75 copay for Luxiq? I didn’t pay that LAST month??” only to stomp off and refuse to take the prescription.
No, the loyalty cards that tie the Chick’s feathers in a knot are the re-usable..monthly cards for 3 dispensings, 6 dispensings, 1 yr, 18 month…you get my drift. Give me a break. You get Pimple Face Finnegan in here with Cards for Solodyn, EpiDuo, yada yada yada and his mother expects me to remember that each month this card goes with this drug and on and on… SORRY MOM, THAT ISN’T GOING TO HAPPEN…
I fill over 6000 prescriptions each month. 99% of them are billed to some kind of insurance or discount plan. I am damn excellent at keeping track of 1 insurance, and most of the time, if I have it bookmarked, i can sometimes remember the split bill…but not always. Therefore, when I so these split bills, I tell the patient (in the most kind manner possible) “Dearest customer, I take your loyalty cards, but it is YOUR responsibility to make sure they are done..not mine..so when you ORDER THE PRESCRIPTION, not pick it up, please remind the staff that you have this card because it will be returned to the back of the line if it needs to be rebilled at the time of pick-up. ”
Unfortunately my computer does not have any kind of “flag” that tells me that any given rx was split billed. It just doesn’t. And while I do my best to put “split bill” in the comment line, that comment line applies to every thing we look at on their file, not just that rx. Nothing stops the line from moving quicker than when my tech moves from the cash register TO a computer with a RX and a loyalty card…and does NOT move the customer out of the way. I have endured too many glares from customers when I tell them to step away from the counter when we rebill cards for them…Know what??? Tough noogies. If you want to have $25 knocked off your Diovan..wait your turn.
Now we have special loyalty cards that frustrate the cashier also. Not only do they require a split bill, but they “fund” a card that has to be swiped at the cash register, in order for the customer to receive the loyalty discount. (Insert head slap here!). These transactions have to be very specially done, in order to work. In a nutshell, if the copay is $40 for Aciphex, and the card takes $30 off, then the clerk has to ring up $40, collect $10 FIRST, to make the remainder $30 show on the register…then the customer has to slide the loyalty card, put in the PIN number, and process to get the #30 off. It will not work in any other order.
My question WHAT THE HECK for??. Why add this step when the split bill process would have been sufficient? Im just sayin….
Recently this woman brought me 4 prescriptions for acne medications from a physician whose sole purpose in life (I believe) is to promote the most expensive dermatologicals on the planet. I believe I have written about him before. Each of these rx’s had a loyalty card associated with it, but some were actually duplications in treatment. “Mom” gave me this deck of cards and rx’s and wanted me to provide “whichever was the cheaper product”. Steaming with rage because we were slammed (being a Monday). I wasted close to 30 minutes billing, and rebilling this nightmare, for which she thanked me by taking NONE of them. “I just wanted to know how much they cost”.
Maam? may the fleas of a thousand camels find solace in your underwear tonight.