I’m in a quandary today.  I found myself wondering how California pharmacies are promoting and announcing their new opportunities to be paid pharmacy services fees starting as early as January 2017.

I have a great sense of direction when cycling, knowing which road to take at an intersection. I’m also a good “googler” but I haven’t found much … so I’m wondering if I’ve taken the right route to uncovering the new options for California consumers.

In September 2016, Gov. Brown signed a bill allowing five pharmacist services to become medicaid benefits in California. I (possibly naively) thought that this news would be shouted from the rooftops, positioning pharmacists to take advantage of the new circumstances as soon as possible. Afterall, finally, payment for a service!!

I thought I’d see some online activity and promotion since California pharmacists will soon have a fee schedule for:

  1. Furnishing travel medications,
  2. Furnishing naloxone hydrochloride,
  3. Furnishing self-administered hormonal contraception,
  4. Starting and administering vaccinations, and
  5. Providing tobacco-cessation counseling and furnishing nicotine-replacement therapy.

I know many of you (pharmacists). You are all, first and foremost, caring patient-centered givers. You’d sooner give away a drug, or the drugstore, than see someone suffer from a disease or a sniffle.  Just like Val, you’re probably focused on serving your patients with little time for much more. *

But I felt, surely, with this great stride forward in one of the largest states in the U.S., I’d find something in the World-Wide-Web to  herald the arrival.

I checked Facebook for “pharmacist service california” and found the most consumer oriented results with “birth control prescribing,” “injections capabilities expanding,” “flu shot,” and “legislation of services billing” in the top 10 results.

In “googling” I had to be a bit more creative to find anything.

  • The locally owned HealthMart stores in California have a web page advertising their services including medication reviews, diabetes products and services and email and text message refill reminders.
  • Results on CVS detailed services from the “practitioners” in their Minute Clinics offering a variety of services but pharmacists’ services are not specified.
  • Both NPR and the LA Times report that birth control is still hard to get at a California pharmacy, e.g. Walgreens continues to require a prescription.

Nothing telling folks to plan on seeing the five new services in January even though APhA and California Pharmacists Association web pages have substantial information for the professional.

What am I missing? Am I jumping the gun? Is it too early? What would you advertise on your pharmacy website given the same choices? I’d appreciate your views!



*P.S. I have been busy completing my book cyclingHome , my two-year memoir, in which you’ll read about:

  • the side-effects of some potent chemotherapy drugs,
  • how we dealt with the chemo side-effects,
  • my “attitude” and how who I am helped me through my chemo treatments,
  • where I found inspiration and strength to thrive and,
  • a few insights into my number one caregiver, Val.

Just wanted to let you know I didn’t forget you, but completing my book took a bit of time recently. I’m back and more focused on YOU!

Did I Take the Right Road?

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