Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

I got a call a short while ago from someone who had a member on the phone who wanted to use our pharmacy as their personal medical support line.
I use medical support in the same way you use technical support.
It’s just like calling your computer’s manufacturer, except this is dealing with your health.
You should get the picture.
If not, pay really close attention to the rest of this.
Anyway, the member’s insurance provider has a step therapy program in place.
That basically means that the insurance company is going to try to get you to try cheaper generics instead of the brand med the doctor originally prescribed to see if that will work first.
They’re playing doctor, which is controversial enought without the freaky implications being thrown in.
They pretty much have no qualms about second-guessing the decisions of the actual doctors if they think it will save them some dough.
In this case, he who pays the piper shouldn’t be calling the tune.
So, this member is being told to take the generic of his med instead of the brand, and wants to call our pharmacy to discuss side effects, and all the jazz that goes along with it.
Well, our pharmacy isn’t an on-call medical helpdesk.
They’ll discuss any side effects members are experiencing from prescriptions in a case where the member wants to switch a generic to a brand, or tell the member how to destroy pills and other medications in the event they’ve been damaged or have expired, but they won’t give members general medical advice.
I told this particular caller to have the member call either their doctor or their local retail pharmacy for medical advice, and that I wasn’t aproving the transfer.
The caller asked what they should say to the member.
How about a paraphrase of what I just told you?
I didn’t realize call scripting was in my job description.
Sometimes I wonder how these people manage to get out the door in the morning, let alone drive a vehicle.

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