Q.: Why can’t my physician call or fax in prescriptions?
A.: Laws and Coast Guard regulations prohibit medical offices from calling or faxing in prescriptions as the pharmacist may not be on premises. This is a safety and legal requirement.
Q.: Why do I have to phone my prescription refill in?
A.: The main reasons for this policy are safety and workflow management. The pharmacy department processes prescription refills in the morning when the workload is generally lower. This policy also reduces the amount of distractions and interruptions which contribute to increased rates of medication errors. In addition, the pharmacy department is charged with prioritizing Active Duty personnel and supplying Coast Guard Sickbays with required supplies. The refill process minimizes wait times for all our beneficiaries.
Q:. Why is the pharmacist away from the pharmacy so much?
A.: In addition to managing the pharmacy operations at this clinic, the Pharmacy Officer is also responsible for all USCG pharmacy operations in New England; An Area of Responsibility that stretches from Newport, Rhode Island to Southwest Harbor, Maine. The Pharmacy Officer is required to make periodic site visits to eight cutters and six shore units in this area. This collateral duty is in addition to Command responsibilities that require time away from the clinic, training, and annual leave.
Q: Can the pharmacy department order my medication if they are not listed on the formulary?
A.: No, the pharmacy is funded based on the number of Active Duty in the catchment area and the Basic Core Formulary (BCF). The Coast Guard does not bill your insurance (Tricare) for re-imbursement and is allocated funds based on the above criteria.
Q.: Can I have a friend or family member pick up my medication?
A.: Due to the constraints of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that protect your right to privacy, the pharmacy can only release your medication to a direct family member over the age of 18. You may elect to fill out a waiver authorizing the pharmacy to release your prescription to another individual. Please contact the pharmacy at 508-968-6702 for additional information on your privacy rights and release of information requirements.
Q.: What is the largest quantity I can receive and what are the costs?
A.: Budget allowing, the pharmacy will provide a 90 day supply of medications. This is convenient for our customers and maximizes pharmacy efficiencies. All prescriptions filled at the clinic are free. Otherwise, the copayment is $3 for generics, $9 for brand name, and $22 for non-formulary medications filled at retail pharmacies for a 30 day supply. Medications obtained through the Mail Order Pharmacy (Express Scripts), are supplied in 90 day quantities at this co-pay.
Q.: How early can I get my prescription refilled? I am leaving on vacation.
A.: Each prescription can be refilled 14 days early. In fact, the pharmacy department encourages our beneficiaries to refill medications early in order to have an emergency supply on hand. The potential exists for the base and clinic to close at any time due to inclement weather, Coast Guard operations and Command functions, or increased base security. Also, the Pharmacy Officer can be deployed on short notice as happened during Hurricane Katrina.