Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Health Insurers must die; Pharmacists to follow next!

If I just off and told you what this afternoon was like, you would not believe me. You would say that I'm being all dramatic and embellishing the story to sound like the world is totally fucked and I'm the only sane one out there. And you know what? You'd be wrong. At least about being dramatic and embellishing. But certainly not about the world being totally fucked up and me being the only sane one out there. I'm telling you, it's good that I do not believe in guns and violence because if I did, several people would be bleeding on the floor ala Jack Bauer right now. I'm that pissed.

So let's back up a couple of days to when I went to the doctor and waited for more than an hour and a half and never got seen. I did speak to the doctor and to his nurse practitioner the next day, Thursday. She called in a prescription for a Z-Pak, azithromax, to cure me of the sinus infection from hell. Thursday afternoon I went to Brigham and Women's hospital to pick up the prescription and they refused to give it to me because it evidentally interacts badly with the particular statin I take daily, Zocor. OK, I can deal with that. They say they're going to call my doctor and get substitute med, come back tomorrow (this afternoon.) So I go home and brew up about 3 gallons of green phlem and continuing coughing up my lungs while I hold the top of my head on every time I cough.

Today I return to the pharmacy at the hospital, and guess what? They never called my doctor, they never called me, and they have no meds for me. They do have yet another $8 parking fee, but nothing that will actually make me better. I'm totally annoyed.

But there's more! On the way back home, I swing by my doctor's office and ask them for another prescription that I can take to a real live pharmacy like my local Walgreens, and get it filled there. They go searching for someone who can do this, and lecture me on the evils of coughing in their waiting room and demand that I wear a face mask. I finally get the prescription and hightail it down to the Walgreens, where they have not yet gotten the faxed prescription.

I wait for a bit and the prescription comes in and I give them my health insurance card from HealthNetOrange, a company I have never heard of, never applied for, and never wanted, but who Medicare assigned to me. I've already applied for another company and I'm just waiting for my cards, but in the meantime, I'm stuck with these asshats for health insurance.

These are the same people that denied me the preparation for the colonoscopy, so I was unable to get one. Like, aren't they SUPPOSED to provide health care?

Evidentally not. Because they would only authorize three freaking pills. THREE. Anyone that knows anything about antibiotics knows that all a partial prescription will do is make my body resistant to this antibiotic, one that actually works. The drugs.com web site states:

Take this medication for the entire length of time prescribed by your doctor. Your symptoms may get better before the infection is completely treated. Azithromycin will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.

Isn't that STOOOPID? I can't actually believe it, because Zithromax comes in a blister pack with 7 pills. You take 2 the first day, and one each of the subsequent days, until they're all gone. It isn't rocket science. A 5th grader can figure this out. But evidentally not the people that do the formulary at my insurer.See, look what it says right on the package. A FULL COURSE of antibiotic therapy in 5 doses.

I do what any normal right thinking person would do. I called them and told them off. I'm sorry, but this makes NO freaking sense. Why would you only grant a 2 day supply of a medication, thereby ensuring that not only will the patient not get better, but that they will end up resistant to that antibiotic, one that works well? Please, anyone have an explanation for this?

I also told them that I was ditching their pathetic health insurance and that I planned to let everyone I know hear about this inanity. So Paul Levy, I hope you're reading this.

In the meantime, I'll be coughing non stop through the weekend, and maybe on Monday I'll finally get some meds from the hospital pharmacy.

Who would have ever thought it would be so hard to just get a freaking prescription for antibiotics? You would think I'm a drug seeking crack ho looking for some oxycontin. I just want to get rid of my sinus infection. Is that too much to ask?

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Blogger Paul Levy said...

I am reading this, but I don't run the hospital you mentioned . . .

9/3/07 5:55 PM  
Blogger Thumper said...

It's the HMOization of medical care... I sometimes have to fight for my DDAVP if I run out early; they *know* that it's a med that ocassionaly has to be taken more often than prescribed, but getting them to let me refill a couple days early is like pulling teeth. Nope, I can pee myself to death for all they care.

I miss the days of real medical insurance...

Got here via Michele's today, even with the typo in your URL ;)

9/3/07 5:57 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

Paul, I know you're across the street in the "other" hospital, but it's really important to know that mistakes like this happen to us 'little people' and someone like you has the power to question why. I can complain to my heart's content, but I don't run a major Harvard teaching hospital and you do. So it's within your power to make sure that your pharmacy doesn't treat patients like this, and that you don't charge patients $8 bucks to park just to pick up a prescription, and that a health insurer's formulary isn't HARMFUL to a patient. These are all within your power and I believe that you CAN make it better.

And BTW, I was in your hosptial last week in the Opthamology department and was treated like a queen. This was the day the T was down and the traffic was horrible and everyoone was so pleasant and nice and even the parking attendant in Shapiro was delightful when I told her I left my wallet on my desk and only had my checkbook because evidentally I'm a moron! What a difference in attitude than my 'usual' hospital haunt.

9/3/07 7:01 PM  
Blogger Mamma said...

It's just ridiculous!!

I am so sorry!

9/3/07 11:00 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

The truly ironic thing is if you were a drug addict needing a meth fix, you probably would've gotten a dose right then and there! Gotta love the beauracracy of healthcare these days. I'll be thinking of you and your sinuses this weekend. Try to get some rest.

10/3/07 9:05 AM  
Blogger Roy Evan said...

Azithromycin is generally available two ways. There is a "Z-Pak" which is six 250mg tablets for five days (two on the first day) and a "Tri-Pak" which is three 500mg tablets for three days. You were most likely being given a Tri-Pak

21/4/07 3:36 PM  

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