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We currently use a local pharmacy that will bubble pack all her meds and supplements together, even physicial samples. We had to do that because of many problems with her current facility's pharmacy - a different one to the new facility - and also because of many of her meds going missing and others being ordered that were specifically requested not to be ordered that her insurance does not cover and we are left holding the bill for. The current, local pharmacy is great and we don't want to change but can't afford the $400 per month outside pharmacy fee. How can this be legal? Any advice?

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Thank you for you response. I am in Tennessee. It is otherwise a great facility and a huge improvement to where she was and that has been such a relief i did not look further but there have been some recent incidents with her meds and i will look at it again.
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This might be a bit late but better late than never. I'm a pharmacy owner certified consultant / doctor of pharmacy in the state of Florida. Any patient in any assisted living can choose any pharmacy they would like. Also any independent pharmacy should be able to package these medications for the patient. Some of the pharmacy owners don't even charge for these packagings. Also as a new pharmacy owner I have a new system that provides Medicare plans price comparison tool. Meaning I could tell the patient based on their medication profile which plan offers the lowest copay and the lowest premium. I had to learn all those different technology tools on my own to be able to compete with big chain pharmacies. :) Good luck!
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This journey has certainly been a learning experience. I just said to my brother last night that we will be experts in care facilities, SS, disease related to aging etc. by the time mom passes on! Just two months ago we found a NH we really liked but not only did they require the use of a specific pharmacy, they required you switch to one of a few specific health insurance and that you only use doctors at a specific medical group - Providence, in this case. So it was a no-go. The NH when we just placed her really applied pressure to use a specific pharmacy siteing the whole bubble pack, control reasoning. They did relent as her current health plan/pharmacy met all the requirements. We did have to sign off that in an emergency - when they needed something right away, like they diagnosis her with a UTI - they could use their pharmacy.
So much fine print to read on this journey!
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Thank you, geewiz. I will check that out.
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In my state, the Department of aging oversees/regulates the Assisted living facilities. You can ask them what the rules are by calling the State. I had my state send me an electronic copy of the rules so I could look things up myself.

This could be a money grab but if there isn't a law/code on the books that specifically allows you to use your own, you may have to go with the flow!
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Mom does have part D. She is in the do-nut hole now and has been since August. That is why her meds are so much. No copay now, she has to pay a percentage. Thanks for your reply though.
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I am sorry that your mom's insurance does not pay better on her meds which much be some very high powered stuff with no generics. Maybe she needs a better supplemental insurance to pay better for her meds or look into Medicare Part D which does have a do-nut hole in it which I don't know if that has been fixed.
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Thank you all for your responses. Insurance only pays for part of her medications now and none of her monthly care or residency expenses so the $400 comes out of her pocket. Her part is already over $600 per month for the meds after insurance. My thoughts are that they have to check the bubble packs regardless of where they come from so why such a high extra charge for the same service. Its true that I do not want to get off on the wrong foot with the new facility and will probably let this go for now.
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Here in NY, the state requires the facility to control ALL medications. For example, last flu season the residents were getting their own aspirin and cough syrup and the nurses were having an absolute nightmare with medication interactions. There are good and valid reasons why all medication, even aspirin, or vitamins, are kept controlled, must have an MD written order and are tracked. We had to constantly check mom's medicine cabinet and remove things she should not have.
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I wouldn't start off on the wrong foot with the new facility. Look at the fine print of the contract. I don't see it as a money grab since insurance will be paying for most of it anyhow. I think it mainly makes it easier for them to manage.
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SMacArthur, imagine if every residents in a nursing home wanted to use their own pharmacy.... it would be nightmare.

The $14 a day sounds reasonable so that your Mom can use her own pharmacy. Pills are usually handed out twice a day.

As for it being illegal.... would you say the same about a hospital that uses it's own pharmacy for patient meds? One cannot bring in meds from the outside.
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I think the facility has a threefold reason for wanting to control the pharmacy procurements: (a) there probably is a sole source supplier contract with it (b) it wants to ensure that the meds are of the caliber it wants, i.e., hopefully not from an emerging market country with little if any quality control and (c) it may already have vetted this pharmacy and doesn't want to deal with another one.

I wouldn't waste too much time with AARP; I haven't found it to be very helpful in addressing issues. Legal aid can offer advice, but you might want to consider contacting the nursing home/care ombudsperson for your area. There are some legal firms that specialize in nursing home intervention, but you'll pay probably at least $250 to $300 an hour.

The only other leverage I can think of would be to find an alternative nursing home and advise that if you can't negotiate something on the med issue that you'll take your mother there (assuming they have openings). You know the old saying: Money talks. If they know they'll lose a client, they might be more flexible.

But frankly, the nurses or someone SHOULD BE verifying every bubble pack as to dosage and strength. I would think that goes without saying.
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The last person handling the meds is the one responsible for dispensing. I am positive this is a legal issue. Drop your pharmacy and go with their approved provider.
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She will be going to the new facility at the end of this month. I have tried to negotiate with the new facility about this but they will not negotiate. Their "reason" is that their nurses will have to verify every bubble pack coming from the local pharmacy. I call bs money grab. Otherwise everything seems very good about the new facility and I realize there always seems to be something and I have to pick my battles. I have found that many facilities do this and it just seems so wrong to me. I was hoping I might either have some legal ground to decline the fee or could start something about it. I do plan on contacting AARP and legal aid.
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I'm confused about this:

'her current facility's pharmacy - a different one to the new facility "

Is she in the new facility now?

Wherever she is, you should check the admission papers to see if the facility has the right to choose the pharmacy, which I suspect it does. It may get some kind of discount, then kick up the price for direct pay by the patient's family.

If you or someone else has agreed to this authority under the admission papers, you could try to address the issue and concern with the admissions staff.
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Now were these many problems with meds and supplements at the old facility, her new one or both? Have you filed a complaint about this?

It's legal because she's their resident.
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