Wednesday, June 11, 2014

CVS: Customer service fail.

I've never had problems with American pharmacies before. I find it peculiar that pharmacies sell coffee, snacks, toys, and electronics, but once I find the pharmacy section tucked away at the back of the store I haven't had problems with them.

This week, our local CVS has annoyed me to the point where I wanted to tell them what I really feel. That is a bad thing.

Let's back up for a moment. I need to give some personal background for all this to make sense.

I am personally between health insurances right now. For some reason I can't figure out, the insurance companies refused to give me coverage that started when my coverage from my previous employer ended, so I'm spending June sad and uninsured.

I tried to get an interim insurance for this month, but they wouldn't sign me up because I had a pre-existing problem; high blood pressure.

That shouldn't have had to be a disaster. I thought I could re-fill my own prescriptions late May and get by through June, but Florida Blue only let me have the cheap cholesterol pills that I could live without for a month, or pay for. They refused to pay for the last refill of my expensive blood pressure pills.

That pretty much determined that I wouldn't get a new policy with them. Anyway, my blood pressure is a disaster. I can't afford to buy the medicine without insurance, and I'm allergic to the cheaper versions. Thus, I feel awful. I have headaches, I can barely keep my eyes open, and some days I see funny patterns in front of my eyes.

Thank you Florida Blue, insensitive bastards. *glares*

None of this is the fault of CVS. I just need to man up and push through the entire month until my new coverage with Aetna starts.

Now, I don't mean to whine, but since I don't feel well at all, I have a low tolerance level for bs. Right now, I have enough on my plate surviving, providing for us, caring for hubs and his cancer, caring for the dogs, taking care of the yard and the house...

Monday this week, hubs went his round to the doctors and his general physician gave him new prescriptions. After seeing the general physician, we went to the cancer center, and the doctor there wanted to adjust one of the prescriptions from doctor number one.

We arrived to CVS with one prescription from doctor one to cancel, one prescription from doctor one to fill, and one prescription from doctor two to fill.

They looked at the papers and said, "Why are these from two different doctors?"

We explained the situation, and they looked in their computer. Hubs has so many pills. There are pain pills, prescription vitamins, anti-nausea pills, steroids, medicine to increase his appetite, I can't keep track of them all. Furthermore, he's 5'10" and weighs 115 lbs. Strangers ask him if he's okay. When a person like that shows up with a prescription from a cancer center you'd think they'd be able to realize he's really sick and try to make things easy. Right?


Three pharmacists stood there looking at the papers, looking at him, and looking at the computer. One guy said, "We can't fill this. I'll have to call the doctors."

I said, "Well, then, call the cancer center who made the corrections. They will explain everything to you."

He said, "No, I'll have to call them both."

Hubs headed for the chairs to sit down and wait, and I said, "Wait, how long is this going to take?"

The guy behind the counter made a dismissive gesture. "I have many other calls to make."

It was clear that he had no intention of calling anyone. We had already spent four hours waiting at different doctor's offices and I had to get back to trying to make money for us to pay the bills, so I said, "Will you call him when you're done?"


It didn't sound reassuring, but we left for home.

Hubs waited all day. Nothing.

Yesterday morning, he started calling himself. The pharmacy hadn't even tried calling the doctors. When hubs started calling, the cancer center first got angry with the pharmacy, and then told us to come down to sign a release form that would get him his medicine for sure.

That was the start of bouncing between doctor's offices and the pharmacy for two hours.

Two hours of doctor's notes, phone calls, re-written prescriptions, and CVS still refused to give him his medicine. 

How do you refuse a cancer patient medicine after talking to a doctor who says it's necessary? The cancer center said, "Of all our patients right now, he is the one who needs this the most."

What really made me mad was when the pharmacy people all stood behind the counter, refusing to pick up the phone to call the doctors and double-check the dang prescriptions themselves. Hubs called on the cell phone, got hold of the right person, and the pharmacists shied away saying, "No, we don't talk on cell phones."

I get it, he could have called anyone, but if you refuse to call yourselves, tell him to do it and don't let him use the pharmacy phone, how can he get hold on anyone besides on his cell phone? Drop the attitude, pick up the phone, and call yourself. It's your job!

At this point, after dealing with this for two days, my patience was gone. I wanted to growl and show my teeth, like a dog would have done. On the other end of my computer at home was a company waiting for urgent material for me, I felt like shit, I wanted my husband to have his medicine, we were both hungry, and so on.

Hubs said, "You're starting to be really mean to people."

I said, "I'm sorry. There's a certain level of idiocy I can accept, and these people have gone far beyond that."

When all this was finally settled, they had somehow lost one of his previous prescriptions for anti-nausea pills. It's just gone. It was in their computer yesterday, but it's not there anymore. Luckily, he doesn't feel all that nauseous right now, because neither of us have the strength to enter the battle to get them.

On the bright side, the doctors think hubs will feel much better in a couple of months. In four weeks or so I will be covered again, so I can get my medicine and feel better again, if these people don't give me a stroke before that. I'm supposed to stay away from stress in order to survive this month. CVS are not helping! We only have to push through a little further...

Have you had problems with pharmacies? I'm thinking of sending a letter to CVS corporate. A part of the job of being a pharmacist is caring for people and helping people. I think the pharmacists should have been all over him, helping him, making sure he had somewhere to sit and was comfortable with a glass of water while they sorted their own problems out. What do you think?

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