From the Pharmacy Team: One of our clinic patients is a Veteran dealing with two serious, chronic conditions. A few months ago he was first treated for compression fractures in his back and had surgery planned. Before his surgery took place, however, he was diagnosed with cancer, Multiple Melanoma. Because he is covered by a Veterans Health Insurance program he can only fill prescriptions through the VA Hospital close by.
But, while he can’t fill his prescriptions through our hospital pharmacy, my team and I knew we needed to help him navigate a very difficult situation. It was just the right thing to do. He needed to start a cancer treatment regimen as soon as possible and there was no clear direction to follow for handling both health conditions at the same time.
Working together with the patient, I called each of his physicians and the VA to get everyone on the same page. While it should be an easy thing to do, it took four weeks of navigating automated phone trees to get the right people on the line and coordinated! Even after telling, and re-telling the story to all involved, cooperation didn’t come easily. Honestly I believe I talked to them so much that they were just trying to get rid of me.
Thankfully after four weeks I finally got the VA, the pharmacy and the Cancer treatment Center coordinated so that the patient could start receiving his cancer medication while managing treatment for his back. After starting his journey in a state of confusion, red tape and fear, our brave and deserving Veteran was finally able to focus on treatment and healing. He couldn’t have been more grateful for the help we provided at no charge, only because it was the right thing to do.