Pharmacists Say Part D Needs More Work
The Missouri Pharmacy Association held a news conference Tuesday in Jefferson City.
Many pharmacists said the plan benefits seniors, but there are kinks to be worked out.
Paying less for prescription drugs is at the heart of the program's appeal. So, when it kicked in early this year, pharmacists were swamped.
"The month of January was atrocious because we were working 3-4 hours after the store closed," recalled pharmacist Paul Vosser.
Not only did pharmacists have to fill prescriptions, they had to educate and switch over all those Medicare recipients.
"If it hadn't been for pharmacists at the point of care, on the ground, when the system was originally brought into being Jan. 1, we really feel that the system might not have survived," added Randy Meents of the state pharmacy association.
And it's that feeling that brought many pharmacists to Jefferson City on Tuesday. A survey by a national pharmacy association showed 60% of them think it will hurt their business, because it takes a lot of time to sort through the Part D confusion. One pharmacist said he spends about two hours a day troubleshooting because of confusion caused by Part D. The survey also found other problems, such as slower and lower reimbursements. Local pharmacists said they gave away medicine for free, hoping reimbursement would kick in.
In fact, the survey reported 12% of pharmacies serving Medicare patients said they may have to close permanently. Pharmacists hope a bill co-sponsored by Missouri Sen. Jim Talent will resolve their problems. It would require claims to be paid within 14-30 days.