Making your trip to the pharmacy a whole lot easier

| Posted On Jul 06, 2011 | By:

Sometimes, a trip to your neighborhood pharmacy can end in frustration. You have to wait for your doctor’s office to send over your prescription. It finally arrives, but the pharmacy discovers they do not have your current insurance information on file. You present your insurance card, but you’re told it’s a different card for your prescription coverage. Without that card, they require you to pay full price if you want to get your prescription right away.

If you’re an Atrius Health patient, our in-house pharmacies located within 15 of our Harvard Vanguard locations can help save you time. You can pick up your prescription after your doctor’s appointment! If any questions such as drug interactions or dosing come up, our pharmacies have quick access to your doctor and can get questions answered promptly. The pharmacists also have access to your medical record and can get questions answered simply by reading your doctor’s notes. Many times, your insurance information has been gathered at check-in and can be easily accessed by our pharmacy staff. Our staff are quite knowledgeable about insurance companies and often know how to reach the right place quickly to access your policy information.

Even with the advantages we can offer from our in-house pharmacy, there are still some things that you can do to help prevent long or repeated visits to the pharmacy. Letting your doctor or nurse know at the beginning of an appointment or a phone call that you plan on using our pharmacy can save you time. Here are some other tips that can help make your trip to the pharmacy smoother and shorter:

  1. If you are coming from an appointment and going straight to the pharmacy, make sure that you have all insurance cards with you, including both medical and prescription coverage. Often these are two different plans and therefore two different cards.
  2. If picking up a prescription for yourself OR for someone else, know exactly what you are getting – the type and number of different medications. Sometimes things get filled at different times and are in separate bags. The person who waits on you may not be aware of multiple prescriptions, so it is helpful to you and to the pharmacy to know what to expect.
  3. If you are coming into the practice just to pick up medication, call ahead. Make sure the prescription has arrived at the pharmacy and is ready for pick-up.
  4. While on the phone, confirm the price. If the pharmacy needs insurance information, this will prompt them to ask you to bring your card or read the numbers over the phone. That way all billing issues can be taken care of in advance.
  5. Call in advance or bring in new insurance cards. When employers go through open enrollment, insurances can change. Verify any changes with your employer.
  6. If the card is not yet available, there are often numbers that can be read to you over the phone, or faxed or e-mailed to you to keep you up to date on any changes. The three numbers pharmacies look for are BIN, GROUP, and ID #’s.
  7. Technology can be helpful. If you put the numbers for your medical and prescription drug insurance providers in your cell phone, you will have them with you when you have that unexpected doctor or pharmacy visit.
  8. For certain medications, photo ID is required by law. Medications that are controlled by the federal government require that you show an ID before they can be dispensed. An example of a controlled medication is Robitussin with codeine, commonly given to help stop coughing. Also, Zolpidem [Ambien], a common sleep aid, requires ID.
  9. Pharmacy staff will ask you to verify that the right medication is going to the right person by asking for an address or date of birth. This is to protect you from getting the wrong medication and from sharing confidential information. You would be surprised how many same-name patients we have! The personal information gives the pharmacy confirmation that the medication is going to the right person.

Our pharmacies’ goal is to make your visit friendly and quick and have the industry’s shortest wait time. Our technology allows us to get your prescriptions started before you leave the doctor’s office. Sometimes, questions arise with your prescription or there are billing issues. These issues may take additional time; however, with your help, the additional time can be kept to a minimum.

By using the tips above, we hope to make your visit to our pharmacy smooth and easy, and to make sure our pharmacists can spend their time answering your medication and health-related questions – that’s what we like to do! And don’t forget to ask your pharmacist about our free prescription mail service!

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