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Retaining Patients: advising customers on
Medicare Part D Plans
During each annual open enrollment period from October through December, Bill Means, RPh, owner of Medical Center Pharmacy of Hickory, sits down with his patients and helps them select a plan. Non-patients can take advantage of the service, as well.
“We have the knowledge background to pick programs better than the other available sources since we deal with the medications on a daily basis. This knowledge makes it much easier to sit down and show the patient the monthly costs, not just for their Medicare Part D premiums but for the medications as well. If there are medications the patient is taking that aren’t going to be covered under their current program, unlike the other sources, we can dig a bit deeper to find alternatives that may be covered.”
The business implications in going the extra mile are clear. “It allows us to keep our patients and bring in new ones. The other sources may sign up patients for the least expensive plan causing them to have to go through mail order. As the pharmacist, we can make sure the patients are well-informed about all the Medicare Part D plan choices they have available and can help them make the best choice for the pharmacy they use. You might be losing patients to other pharmacies if you aren’t doing this.”
The iMedicare program links to the pharmacy computer system, allowing the patient’s medications to be pre-loaded. It only takes 15 minutes to obtain plan reports for the patient, and only five additional minutes for new patients not in the pharmacy computer system.
Bill, along with Rob Cockman, RPh, at Midtown Pharmacy in Whitsett, NC, held a series of calls with other Cardinal Health community pharmacy owners to share their best practices in this area. Both of these pharmacists embrace the opportunity to help other owners better understand the significance of the open enrollment period with the opportunity to build stronger relationships with the communities they serve.
Phil Piercy, Territory Sales Manager with Cardinal Health, has seen the impact. “He helps them to understand their plan options which is invaluable for those patients on fixed incomes where every dollar matters. They are so relieved. You cannot put a price on reassurance,” he stated.
—Bill Means RPh
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