I think a fundamental problem with this system is that with so many people involved, miscommunication reigns supreme. With any Medicare prescription, the doctor writes/authorizes it, hands it off to a medical assistant who then sends it to a pharmacy. The pharmacists reviews it and a pharmacy technician is often involved. The pharmacy then communicates with Medicare, mostly to assure that the pharmacy will get paid once the medicine/supply is issued.
With all these people involved, I’m amazed when it works at all! On top of that, many doctor’s offices and pharmacies depend on facsimile or fax communication, a channel with its own risks and hazards.
I once had a Walgreens pharmacy tech tell me that Medicare would not approve my test strip prescription. When I pressed for further details, I discovered that she wasn’t referring to Medicare but to the national Medicare department at Walgreens. Once I applied pressure to this office, I was able to shake my strips free from the bureaucracy.
The only thing that’s worked for me is to over-manage the entire process. I check and double-check to see if communication that’s claimed to be sent is actually received. I keep notes and I am relentless in my follow-up. Sometimes I think people satisfy requests just to get rid of my nagging. Unfortunately, out of all the many people involved in this process, I am the only one who suffers if a medication or supply item does not deliver to me.
I don’t like this process at all since I can be impatient and easily frustrated by incompetence. I make an effort to be pleasant and polite and this is important. But I won’t put up with unnecessary delay or non-delivery.