February 17, 2020 Ashley Struble

A Frantic Call, A Patient Saved

From a Pharmacy Liaison - Last Friday evening I received an urgent call at 4:45 pm from a patient who was not eligible to fill her prescription at our hospital pharmacy. Her insurance required her to fill her prescription at a mail-order specialty pharmacy. However, the patient was desperate.

It was Friday evening, she was due for a medication injection on Saturday night, and she had not received a call from the mail order pharmacy about a refill. For someone in pain, it was a worst-case scenario. She would have to wait several days, at least, to treat the “trigger points” in her muscles that were causing debilitating back pain.

Just before she spoke with me the mail order pharmacy told her there was no way they could get the injection to her in the time for Saturday night. When the patient called me she was understandably in a panic, but I assured her we would find some way to get her medication to her in time.

After hanging up with the patient I immediately contacted her insurance company. They put me on hold multiple times and transferred me too many times to count, only to hang up on me in the end. I called back and tried to get an override to do a one-time fill at our hospital’s specialty pharmacy, which was just down the street from the patient's home.

By this time it was 5:45 pm, an hour later, and our pharmacy closed at 6 pm on Friday. So now it was a rush against the clock. I contacted the hospital pharmacy staff letting them know what was going on and they agreed to stay for a last-minute fill. Thinking positively, I called the patient who agreed to make her way to our pharmacy in the event her insurance came through with approval in time.

Finally, at 5:55 pm the insurance company approved the override. At 6:00 pm the patient picked up her medication at our pharmacy counter and she was prepared for the weekend. It was such a thrill to see the patient so happy, smiling, and relieved!