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12th MDG pharmacy stays ahead of dispensing game

By Col. Paul Bennett | 12th Medical Group commander | Jan. 25, 2008

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — Within the past three years, the pharmacy workload has steadily increased, resulting in overcrowding in the small pharmacy waiting area. Lately, a busier pharmacy has resulted in longer prescription wait times. 

There are faster solutions, however, than waiting in long lines. 

On an average day, the Randolph pharmacy fills more than 1,200 prescriptions compared to 200-300 prescriptions filled in a community pharmacy. 

The 12th Medical Group pharmacy pays special attention to customer comments on the services rendered at the pharmacy while maintaining a 99 percent prescription accuracy rate and minimizing the waiting times. 

Wait times are directly related to the workload at the time, a clinic spokesperson said. Medications are potentially harmful substances and if not used appropriately can cause serious harm. As a result, every prescription has to be meticulously processed. 

One way to avoid crowds is by visiting the pharmacy at off-peak times, typically between 7:15 and 9:30 a.m. The pharmacy is typically busier on days adjacent to holidays or base-wide down days, so avoiding these days will help in avoiding long lines. 

If a patient cannot wait for their prescription to be filled, they have the option to leave the prescription and come back the next day. A patient who wishes to use this feature may pick up an envelope next to the drop box in the lobby, complete the information and leave in the drop box to be processed. 

Two Automated Prescription Dispensing Machines are another alternative to make a pharmacy visit more enjoyable. One sits inside the main entrance of the Randolph Clinic, while the other is located in the commissary. 

Most prescriptions may be dispensed in these machines. 

These APMs offer the convenience of picking up prescriptions that have been called in, in advance, through the pharmacy refill system at 652-2777 or (800) 471-0309. Each patient will need a PIN number to receive medication from the machine. Pharmacy personnel can issue PIN numbers and provide more information about these machines. 

A third way to avoid long lines is the TriCare Mail Order Pharmacy. It offers a unique advantage of mailing prescriptions anywhere in the U.S. or deployed locations. Active-duty personnel are exempt from a copay, but copays for others vary based upon the status of the individual, brand or drug. Officials recommend this for personnel deploying overseas to ensure continuous supply of their medications. 

For more information, visit www.express-scripts.com/TRICARE or call (866) DOD-TMOP.
The 12th MDG pharmacy is open from 7:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except holidays and base-wide down days. The last Wednesday of each month, the clinic closes at noon for training.