Pharmacy

Dear Pharmacy Computer:

I love being able to go online to refill my meds.  It’s so much easier than spending ten minutes punching numbers into a touch-tone telephone keypad.  There is one issue, however, that I’d love to see addressed.  Why can I not refill all my meds at the same time?  You have arbitrarily set a limit – and that limit happens to be lower than my number of prescriptions.

When I punch in the first six, I get a confirmation screen:

Then I start all over to add the others, and get an error:

Your system just can’t handle more than six prescriptions per day.  It’s been a challenge, but if **I** can manage to take all those &*%# pills as prescribed, I don’t think it’s asking too much to ask a computer to let me order my refills in a timely manner.  This is not rocket science; it’s basic handling of data. 

Instead of this being a time-saver, now I have to phone the pharmacy and talk to a person — a person who could be filling prescriptions if they weren’t talking on the phone, trying to straighten out a computer problem.  I finally got everything to where it fills on the same day of the month, only to discover that you can’t handle such a simple task.  Argh!

What Does A BUN Test Cost?

Edit to add, for those who found this post googling “What does a BUN cost?”: it should be less than $20.  Pre-paid labs currently charges $11.85 (plus admin fee).

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Perhaps I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m one of those people who actually reads their EOBs when they arrive in the mail.  Then I compare the EOB with my notes of where/when/why of the appointment, and check all of that against my bill.

It’s kinda nice, because I’ve been able to figure out what the charge is for many of the labs that have been ordered, and compare prices.  In theory, if one lab charges significantly more than another, I could choose to get my blood draws done at the place that’s most economical.

Today, then, an EOB arrived showing that my daughter’s labs done at Children’s Hospital were $477.

Um. No.

  1. No labs were done at Children’s.  Her labs on the date in question were done at the local lab, fifteen minutes from my house.  I had my blood drawn at the same time, and the EOB for my labwork looks perfectly normal.
  2. There’s only test she had that I don’t have a dollar amount on.  If I had to guess, I’d put it in the $10-$45 range.  Some tests are a bit more than that, but I seriously doubt that a BUN test costs $243.

Local lab might be interested to learn that their billing company is giving their money to a different provider.  My insurer might be interested to know that they’ve been billed inaccurately. 

I’m very impressed with the care we’ve gotten at Children’s Hospital, but they are seriously deluded if they think I’ll be paying them for work they didn’t do.  And now that I see their fees, I know that we’ll never have labs drawn at Children’s.  We’ll bring their lab slip to a different local lab and see if the billing company can keep things straight.

I’m in shock that there can be such a significant difference in what labs charge.

Ch-ch-ch-Changes

For nearly a year now, I’ve been injecting Enbrel weekly.  It was pretty scary in the beginning, but I like Enbrel.  I like how it makes me feel so much better.  I like how easy it is to use.  I like the once-a-week schedule so that it’s easy to remember and incorporate into a routine.  I like that it works.

My inflammatory markers look good.  Ten years ago, my response to the meds would be considered a success story.  Now, my rheumatologist tells me, the standards are higher.  She’s treating me, not my lab reports, and thinks I might do better on Humira.  I shouldn’t have new bursitis, I shouldn’t have enthesitis, my feet shouldn’t hurt all the time if these meds were doing their job 100%.  So, effective immediately, I’ve moved on to my second biologic.

I just got off the phone from trying to activate my new Humira card.  All the literature – yes, I actually read this stuff – says that the card is good for twelve months.

  • “This card is valid for 12 months from the date of first use, after which the patient has the option to reenroll (sic) in the program.”
  • “The program pays:  Months 1-12: Up to $500 each month”
  • “Easy to renew after 12 months”

After providing all my information, the voice on the other end of the phone concluded the conversation by saying that this card is good for twelve fills.

“No, you mean twelve months, right?  That’s what your literature says.” 

We went back and forth, her insisting that it’s only good for twelve fills, and me wondering why they won’t cover that last fill of the year when their written materials say that they’ll help out for a full twelve months.

A Humira prescription gets me a box of two injections to be given every-other-week, which should make one box last four weeks.  Divide fifty-two weeks of the year by four weeks per box, and it’s obvious that it takes thirteen fills to get through a year.  This is basic math that my eight-year-old understands; it should not be an impossible concept for an adult to grasp.

Some people will point out that I should be grateful that they’re picking up a portion of the cost.  And I am.  Really.  Extremely grateful.  I just happen to think it’s deceitful to tell people that the card is good for a year if it isn’t. (/rant)

I got my first Humira injection today.  I now have a headache – my first in over a year.  I hope that’s bad coincidental timing, and not a problem that I’ll have with the new med.  Since I’d heard that Humira stings much more than Enbrel, I was a bit concerned.  That turned out not to be true – at least for me.  It was about the same.  With any luck, that will continue.

And now, given that it’s only a week until Christmas, I should probably start my Christmas shopping.
Or baking.  Or packing for our trip.
Have a Merry Christmas!