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Wal-Mart: A model for inefficiency

OK, yet another entry into the rant category today.

Yesterday, I dropped off my wife's prescriptions off at the Wal-Mart pharmacy in Bend. I told them I would pick them up after I got off work and made it back in to town at around 7:00 that night. It was 9:00 AM when I left Wal-Mart yesterday morning.

I got back to Wal-Mart that night around 6:30 to find my prescriptions were not ready. "Why?" I asked. "Because we need a new OHP card," said the oh-so-friendly lady behind the counter. A "rebill" they called it.

They had the card's information on file, and usually don't ask for it, but I produced my Oregon Health Plan (OHP) card anyway. Now, there was NO new information on the card, other than the addition of my daughter to the card (who wasn't getting medication in this case). Lydia's information, her policy numbers, etc... were EXACTLY the same. So I handed her the card. And I waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

Thirty minutes later, after other folks who had rebill problems had theirs fixed and had their drugs given to them, I still didn't have mine. The 300+ pound man sitting next to me, taking up two seats, was starting to fall asleep and I was sure he was going to collapse on to me. I finally went back up to the counter.

"What's the story on my medication?" I asked.
"It's done," said the same lady, who was having a nice time chatting with the previous lady at the counter, but wasn't nearly as polite with me.
"So why can't I have it?"
"Because we have to get your OHP information into the computer."
"My OHP information hasn't changed, why does it all have to get reentered?"
"OHP has changed a lot of stuff for us."
"I understand, but when the information that I provide hasn't changed, why does it all need to get reentered? My name, address, numbers, and everything, is still the same as it's always been. We've gotten dozens of prescriptions filled here."
"She's entering it right now."
"Let me have my card back. I'm not going to wait around for this."
"You'll have to go to the other window and ask for it."

The "other window" was the drop-off window. There were about five or six people waiting in line over there to drop-off things. So I wait again in line.

And I finally get up there and see what the problem was. The lady they have entering information into the computer not only has fingers that are about an inch thick (reminded me of Homer Simpson, when his fingers were too big to use the phone), but she's a very slow typist. I watched her input some information in to the computer, and it was annoyingly slow. About 10 words a minute slow.

I asked her for my card, once I got up there. She said, as perky as she could: "Oh, I was just getting to yours." I've been here for 35 minutes, at this point, and you're just now getting to it?!? Needless to say, I asked for my card back, and left. I'll deal with them later.

I can't wait until I get some real insurance and get off OHP so I don't have to deal with those shmucks again (as they're one of the few pharmacies left in Bend that will take it that doesn't close at 5:00 PM).

Update at 4:00 PM: Just got a call from my wife, who tried to pick up, and was told "It's not ready." And now suddenly OHP isn't paying for what they paid for before. It was cheap, so we just paid for it, and I'm looking for health insurance as we speak.

Posted by Jake on 09/10/03 @ 10:45 AM
Posted in Rants | Permalink



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