The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Cash on the barrel head II

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 4:30 pm on Sunday, March 21, 2010

“I need to go see Dr Seemore, my left eye is fuzzy”.   With that statement from Mr Chick, Pharmacy Chick remembered her own experience with cosmetic medicine. 

But first, a little PRE-story.

Over 20 years ago, PC worked in a drug store that was about 2 blocks away from an eye clinic.  This clinic performed all the usual eye clinic stuff but on Tuesdays, it was surgery day for RK (radial Keratotomy), which you might remember was all the rage for a while.  It meant for a really big day at the pharmacy because we got virtually ALL of their patients and ALL of them had 4 scripts each.  If you consider that the average surgery day was 25-30 patients, that meant an extra 100- 120 scripts, all cash.  Each received Alcaine, Tobrex, Demerol,and Pred Forte….we made sure we had lots of inventory!

 Most of the time the driving family member would bring in the scripts while the patient was undergoing the procedure but occasionally the patient would come in as well. Even tho I am severly nearsighted myself, the idea of having my cornea sliced into a star pattern never appealed to me, and was even less appealing after seeing the parade of patients come thru the pharmacy moaning  for the Alcaine and Demerol. 

At the time this was a cash only venture.  No insurance paid for it. On the horizon however was a new procedure called LASIK and that is where the Chick family steps into the story.

LASIK promised to be the painless (or less painful) alternative to RK.  Done only in Canada (at the time) Mr Chick was chomping at the bit to get it done but I wasn’t in so much of a hurry.  After all, I only had one set of eyes and there was no going back if something didn’t work so we waited until they had more experience under their belts. Eventually I consented, and off to Canada we went.  There were some clinics in the US doing LASIK by then but the cost difference was so significant that even the travel expenses + Cost of procedure was less than the US cost.

To make this part of the story shorter..Mr Chick had the procedure but I didn’t: I wasn’t a corneas were too thin to begin with.  Two years later the clinic went bankrupt and closed, and Mr Chick needed to find a local clinic to follow up care..and here enters Dr Seemore.

Mr Chick was the poster child for why you DONT get LASIK.  Treatment, regression, more treatment, more regression.  Over correction, then under correction, then re-correct the correction.  His presbyopia is bad enough now that he has to have glasses to read most anything and one eye still isn’t great at a distance.  He insists he is still glad he did it, but I am glad I didn’t….But lets meet Dr. Seemore….or at least his office…

Dr Seemore doesn’t take insurance…and has no reason to.  LASIK is a cosmetic procedure.  Nobody HAS to have the procedure.  His office is in a beautiful building.  The lobby has the look of a 5 star hotel.  Comfy sofas, wing chairs and end tables with Tiffany style lamps grace an overly large wait room.   No neat rows of attached chairs here.  The furniture is arranged so that you don’t have to stare face to face or get too close to anybody. He has a bookcase of books for people to enjoy as well as CURRENT (?!wow) issues of several magazines. There is lovely art on the walls and soft music playing overhead but not loud enough to be distracting.  The reception area has a granite counter and a large globe full of candy “help yourself!”.  The receptionist is impeccably dressed. It was almost spa-like in its appearance and feeling. I was expecting somebody to come out with a tray of  hor’d ourves to snack upon.  I haven’t been there in a while, but I’d bet it has wireless internet now too because the waiting family members have to sit around for awhile!

They were generous with their time.  They gave us all the meds we needed (samples no doubt) so we didn’t even need a trip to the pharmacy…interesting, given our profession…

It was the Rolls Royce of medical experiences.  And, considering that he picks his services and reimbursement and WE walk in with  all eyes wide open ( no pun intended), it should be nothing less.  Mr Chick felt it was worth every cent, and a lifetime of free follow up care.  Dr Seemore did an excellent job.  He really seemed to like what he was doing and because he was unburdened by the spector of insurance telling him HOW he was do to his business, he could run it as he chose.

And what business owner doesn’t like that?


Comment by Cat

March 21, 2010 @ 7:38 pm

I’m with you when it comes to cosmetic eye surgery. Approaching my fourth decade of wearing eyeglasses, and I would never let anyone, board-certified or not, shine a laser in my eyes so I can indulge my “vanity” and not have to wear glasses anymore. I’ve heard too many horror stories of procedures gone bad, and my eye-sight (as poor as it may be) is far too precious to me to gamble with on a cosmetic procedure.

Comment by was1

March 21, 2010 @ 7:51 pm

Its amazing how the free market works, isn’t it? If this little procedure was covered by insurance (public or private), you can bet the costs would be higher and the results (maybe) less impressive. But when you have to pay out of pocket, you will look for a good experience at a reasonable price.

Practitioners will offer more and better service at a lower price so that YOU can choose the one that gives YOU the best value for YOU. And competition in this area has in fact brought down the price of the procedure.

The waiting room you described sounds alot like the place where my wife got her tits done. Excellent work, reasonable price, happy customers. It used to be the American Way. Sad, those days are gone.

Comment by Dr. Grumpy

March 23, 2010 @ 12:23 pm

I’ve been wearing glasses since the 3rd grade, and ain’t changing.
it was 3rd grade for me too when I started wearing glasses. tried contacts but my corneas base curve was way too steep and they never fit so to this day i am a glasses wearer.

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