I don’t like to work. 

Correction, I do like to work; it’s my opium.

I just don’t like to do avoidable work, particularly, avoidable re-work.

    I have to do that every day. And so do doctors all across the country. Here are some reasons why:
  • Most refill plans cover 90 days with 3 refills or 30 days with 11 refills. Do the math. That comes out to 360 days a year. That is at least 5 or 6 days short by my last count.  Catch 22.
  • Why does that cause a problem? Because insurance companies also refuse to pay for annual visits if it’s not at least 365 days after the last one ("next year"). So a woman who is going to run out of her birth control pills before she can get her annual Pap smear done. 
    • She will run out of medicine before the year is up. 
    • I will get a phone call. 
    • It’s completely predictable and avoidable work.
    • Even worse, people with chronic pain taking opioids (controlled substances)  can only get a 30 day supply, thus they will run out for a whole day in a 31 day month. 

So I am going to make the case for the 13 month year. All prescriptions should be extendable for 13 months. That gives you one month’s worth of grace. Patients get grace. Doctors get a little more peace and quiet to do the REAL work that needs to be done.

While we're at it, make one more programming tweak: The default refill quantities should be 31 days and 93 days.

Posted
AuthorJeff Belden MD