Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mail-Order Pharmacy Woes

Mail-order pharmacies are great for people like me who have long-term medications they will need filled on a regular basis for the rest of their lives.  Dealing with mail-order pharmacies, however, continually leaves me wanting to bang my head against the wall.

In January 2012, my doctor wanted me to try out Cayston.  I agreed, and so the order was sent to the CF Services Pharmacy (I think they were(/are?) the only pharmacy that was carrying it or something.  Anyway, I was very impressed with the pharmacy and with how quickly I received my medicines, so over the next few months and doctors visits, I gradually switched over all of my prescriptions to their pharmacy.  And it was great - the service was always awesome when I called, they were friendly and helpful, and my medicines always arrived extremely fast.  There were two downsides, though:  one is that they didn't do 90-day supplies.  The second is that I knew they were a little more expensive when it came to a few medications, but the service was great and I was too busy/ignorant to really look into how MUCH more expensive they were.  Finally, about a month ago, I sat down to really start sifting through some insurance claims (which is a whole other "facepalm" rant - the amount doctors offices and hospitals routinely overcharge people because they don't run the insurance correctly is ridiculous - and they don't pay that money back until you call and bring it to their attention!  If you don't already carefully compare what your doctor's office says you owe for a visit to what your insurance claim says you owe for that visit, I would start incorporating that habit into your routine, pronto!  Because of all the visits surrounding my sinus surgery earlier this year, I was overcharged about $1400 from various doctor and hospital visits just from January to March - but thankfully, after multiple phone calls, all that money has since been reimbursed), .......where was I?  Oh yes, so I sat down to really go through insurance claims, and in the process realized how much money I would save if I used my insurance's preferred mail-order pharmacy, Medco (or ExpresScripts, or whatever they're called now).

And so, when it got to the time that my medications were starting to get low again, I called the doctor's office and asked them to send all new scripts to Medco.  And since then, all I can say is ARGH.  I'm trying to keep in mind that they're saving me hundreds of dollars each year, but they're just so slow compared to CF Services, and getting ahold of anyone to talk to takes forever.  It basically takes 8 days from the time a doctor calls in a prescription for them to fill it; then, if there is any kind of issue along the way, a lot of times that 8 days starts all over again.  And then it can take another week to actually arrived from the time it's processed and shipped.  Maybe I just got spoiled working with a smaller specialty pharmacy - is it normal for mail-orders to take this long?

Sorry if it seems like I'm complaining.  I'm just frustrated after multiple conversations with them about billing and filling the orders, and now they're saying that prescriptions called in on April 9th might not get here until the 30th.  I tried to plan in advance for these meds, but I didn't plan enough ahead that waiting three full weeks for them will be ok.  I'm now remembering this happening multiple times in years past when I have used them.  I guess using the big mail-order pharmacy again is just going to take some getting used to.

Monday, April 15, 2013

40 Day Countdown to Wedding Bells and Therapy Compliance!

Whoa!!  We officially have only 40 days to go until d-day(/wedding day)!  And THAT means only 41 days until we arrive in Belize for our honeymoon!  All along, I've wanted so badly to feel awesome for both our wedding day AND our week out of the country.  I've tried to stay on top of all my meds, treatments, exercise, etc., but that honestly hasn't panned out too well this semester.  My albuterol treatments and steroid inhalers ALWAYS get done, at least twice a day......but my rules for "always" doing hypertonic, pulmozyme, and TOBI get fudged a bit (and yes, I know, fudging on the TOBI is an especially bad idea).  My Vest is nicely tucked away in its corner...and, I'm ashamed to admit, has been sitting there long enough I can't tell you the exact day (or even week) that I last used it.  Intentional exercise, however, has happened!  Yep, I've been to the gym exactly three times since the beginning of March.

Ok, enough self-deprecation.  The point of this post is to celebrate 40 days until I marry my honey (yay!) and also to declare the challenge I've set to myself to do every single treatment between now and the wedding.  Can I do it??

Probably not.  Which is why I'm setting my goal at a still-high-but-more-realistic goal of 90% treatments each week.  The number of prescribed aerosol treatments I do each day is 8, plus at least one Vest treatment (I'm not including inhalers in this count because I never have a problem remembering to do those).  Soooo, that comes out to a total of 63 treatments a week.  Which means I'm allowed to skip no more than 6.3 treatments in a seven day period.  And since I don't imagine that .3 of a treatment will ever be a real issue, I'll go ahead and say I'm allowed to miss no more that 6 treatments a week.

Here we go!  Here's hoping for an awesome, deep-breathing, completely relaxing and memorable last week of May 2013!