Letters to the editor: February 20, 2006

February 20, 2006

I am writing this letter to bring attention to a problem that hasbeen an issue for quite some time-the incorrect or incompleteinformation on insurance cards, not only Medicare Part D cards butall insurance cards.

I am writing this letter to bring attention to a problem that has been an issue for quite some time-the incorrect or incomplete information on insurance cards, not only Medicare Part D cards but all insurance cards. I have been in contact with several pharmacists and we have come up with several items that should be a requirement on all insurance cards:

Patients who do not understand questions about co-pays and deductibles should contact their benefits coordinator or insurance company. This would save time and dollars for everyone.

The time to address this is now, as we begin to encounter problems with the new Medicare Part D also.

Scott Johnk, R.Ph.
Price Cutter Pharmacy
Ozark, Mo.

CEs for techs, CEs for R.Ph.s

Concerning technicians and pharmacists taking the same continuing education courses, I've attended many CEs that have caused me to have to reach back many years into my pharmacy school education to understand the material.

Technicians, some of whom are hired without any more education than a high school diploma, don't have that background. This is supposed to be "continuing education." This assumes that one has the primary education to begin with and that the courses are updating the information, keeping it fresh.

Also, in the 22 years I've been a pharmacist, I've worked with many a technician who fancies her/himself a pseudo pharmacist. "I do everything but check the prescription" was the common theme. Now add the common CE courses to that inflated ego and you have a prescription for trouble. I have also worked with marvelous technicians who have been my right arm and best friends who didn't have that attitude.

Some CE courses are on a lower level suited for both pharmacists and technicians, and others are not. Perhaps they could be rated, like movies-suitable for all audiences, pharmacist-only, etc.

Anita Logan, R.Ph.
Walgreens
Smithfield, N.C.
AnitaLogan@nc.rr.com

I'm responding to your Instant Poll, posted on your Web site, regarding CE for technicians and pharmacists. As a technician, I work in a specialized field. I work for a drug information company where I have to be very knowledgeable in the area of drug allergies, drug interactions, drug dosing, patient education, and drug indications and usage.

I believe the CE programs I complete are very beneficial to me. While they are at times very challenging, it is still a learning process. If I can complete a CE and learn from it, what harm is there in letting me do the same CE as the pharmacists with whom I work? I only fear that if CEs are developed specifically for technicians that they may not be as challenging or that they may be directed specifically to a technician in a dispensing environment.

Amy P. Clinton, CPhT
Senior Research Associate, First DataBank, Inc.
amy_clinton@firstdatabank.com