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The Joys of Social Workers

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In this world, there are two types of social workers:

  • The ones you never see or hear about.  The one that the patient calls and they get the shit done fast.  The only time you actually speak with them is a 5 second phone call with an ID/Group/etc number and a “did it work?”.  Pharmacists love these kind of social workers.
  • The social workers that are not like the above group which I will elaborate below.

Every profession has its fair share of idiots.  There are idiot pharmacists, idiot doctors, idiot bus drivers and idiot ditch diggers.  The only exception to this rule is patients, which they are all idiots. 🙂

However social workers seem to collect and concentrate the “duh”.  The social workers that make their presence known to pharmacists turn out to be the most incompetent, inept, and whiny people on the planet.  They are like like Steve Urkel (“Diiiiiiid I do that?”) of the health care world, out to do good, but end up pissing people off/making it worse in the end.  A whining contest between a crackhead and a social worker? I’ll let you guess who wins. Here is a conversation I had recently with a wonderful social worker:

SocialWorker: “Hi! I’m Billy and I’m a social worker”

TheAngryPharmacist: “Hi billy”

SW: “I got a call from John Smith who said that his Zyvox was not covered and he would have to pay for it”

TAP: “Yeah, his insurance doesn’t cover Zyvox withou-”


TAP: *sigh*


TAP: “Uh, its well over a thousand dollars”


I’m going to save you the whining that followed, because to be honest my brain had switched off at that point.  It just involved complaining about the price of Zyvox, how evil MediCal was (oh really?) and that the doctor should just be able to write for something and have it covered.  The whole concept of having a medical resident just write for Zyvox without trying anything else (or doing a C/S workup) completely eluded him.  Oh, and somehow it was /my/ fault that I wouldn’t give him the medicine for free.  Yeah, COMPLETE knowledge of how the system works.

Here is another gem:

SW: “Hi! Im Jane, the social worker for Billy Mays”

TAP: “Hi Jane”

SW: “Billy’s MediCal isn’t working, and he’s out of medication, what can we do for him”

TAP: “Well, he’s should only be out of Prevacid, he can go a day or two without it”

SW: “Well, can you fill the Rx, then call MediCal and find out when his coverage will be turned back on and bill it then?”

TAP: “Uh, no.”


TAP: *sigh*

These two were in the span of about a week of each other. They were different social workers but I assume must either share the same lead-coated coffee cup or used the same lead-painted crib growing up.

Whenever a Medicare/Medical patient comes in and say “I spoke with my social worker about my MediCare Part D coverage” I want to bang my face against the counter.  99% of these cases end up in the patient not having coverage for a month (while one gets shut off, and the other starts the first of the following month) and suddenly it becomes my problem.  For someone who supposedly knows how the ‘system’ works, they sure manage to screw things up.

Like I said earlier, there are social workers out there who are completely ninjas and are awesome at what they do, however they never TALK TO ME!  Share your funny social worker story!

Comments #

Comment by M. Augustine on 2009-09-21 09:40:41 -0700 #

Whiners are difficult to deal with, as are people in authority presenting issues to you in the form of blaming you, without back-up evidence.

I’ve dealt with Zyvox issues in two different ways that didn’t go through a middle-man (i.e. social worker). 1.) Called Pfizer’s Patient Assistance Program to obtain information the patient would need about the choice of out-patient daily (or twice daily, even) vancomycin IVPBs therapy, and financial eligibility requirements, and presented it to the patient’s advocate with patient present, and 2.) called the prescriber and left him a message about how he could get ahold of Pfizer.

I think it works out better if the social worker knows straight up what you can do, and what they can do about it. That way, there’s no implicit blame-game going on if you can’t work a miracle. But, of course this is hindsight, and actually a lot of time went into the research, however valuable and can be used for future scenarios.

Comment by Jimbo on 2009-09-21 10:15:40 -0700 #

In theses cases I usually ask the SW for his/her Mastercard or visa
info so I can bill it to them until patient’s insurance pays, then I’ll give the SW a credit. This has not happened as yet.

Comment by Steven on 2009-09-21 11:50:14 -0700 #

This is was a recent encounter I had

SW: Hi I’m Mark, the social worker for Donald Trump.


SW: Donald needs his Nexium and I found out that insurance raised the 90 day supply to $6 from $3. THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS AND I WILL CALL THE POLICE ON YOU.

Me: Well, there’s nothing I can do about it. His insurance determines his copay, not me. I can bill it on cost if you’d like.


Me: Okay! The new total is $1,334.91

SW: We’ll just bill it on insurance, it won’t be a problem.

Comment by John Woolman on 2009-09-21 15:16:45 -0700 #

Stephen Sondheim said it all 50 odd years ago:

Dear kindly social worker,
They say go earn a buck.
Like be a soda jerker,
Which means like be a schumck.
It’s not I’m anti-social,
I’m only anti-work.
Gloryosky! That’s why I’m a jerk!

Comment by Georgia RPh on 2009-09-21 15:37:34 -0700 #

That’s so weird how different things are from state to state. I have never once in 3 years gotten a call from a Medicaid pt’s social worker. The only call I ever get (~ 2/month) is from a WIC worker asking me to order formula for a non-English speaking person. They are always nice, quick and efficient – making sure they fill out the paper work for the correct number of cans, giving us a heads up so we have the formula in stock, etc. But it certainly doesn’t sound like I’m missing anything.

Comment by D-Bag Daily on 2009-09-21 17:11:57 -0700 #

I’ve never had an encounter with a social worker in my state. I guess we’re lucky over here!

Comment by Missouri RN on 2009-09-21 19:09:49 -0700 #

I have no funny SW stories. Just sad ones. For every competent person I have dealt with, there are ten that are clueless nutjobs. And these are the people *protecting* our children.

Comment by Rachael on 2009-09-21 19:26:04 -0700 #

I’m just trying to clarify… these aren’t real social workers, right? I mean, they aren’t licensed clinical social workers or anything?

Comment by Used to be angry pharmacist on 2009-09-21 20:54:27 -0700 #

Uh… did the social worker try calling Medi-Cal to figure out the coverage first?

Comment by Techworld on 2009-09-21 21:02:12 -0700 #

In Texas i have never talked to a social worker either…. but i guess that can be my one postive thing about my 600 script monday!

Comment by chris on 2009-09-22 05:21:40 -0700 #

2 comments from me, the first is that i think you and your patients are getting the screw job from the drug companies with regard drug pricing, 90days nexium for $1300? its £75 over here in the UK, not entirely sure on exchange rates but one of us is paying the wrong price.

Secondly, social workers get it rough to, i bet those social workers (who understand our systems and laws as much as we understand theirs) have been called every 15 minutes for the last 2 days by their client and will do anything for a bit of peace.

Comment by steve on 2009-09-22 06:02:30 -0700 #

My favorite with social workers is when the patient has no coverage and they tell the patient to tell us to call them becuase they are “soooo busy”. So just for the entertainment I call them, just to find out that they want to tell me that they were notified from medicaid that the patients coverage had ended. Yeah….i got that, thanks. Who do you suppose told the patient in the first place!!!

Comment by Pattie, RN on 2009-09-22 08:59:28 -0700 #

I agree that most SW’ are awesome, finding programs and grants and other crazy ways of getting patients what they need. My beef is with the sticky-gooey (and usually new) ones who “ain’t it awful” all over the place and enable the known scum and system abusers by wanting to “help” them and “give them another chance” and believe all the bullshit stories about how no one else cares, their Mommy threw them out of the house, the police pick on them, doctors don’t “respect” their pain…et. al. These idiots have no concept of peronal responsibility and that a sizable majority of patients who are up the creek without a paddle put themselves in that position by years of stupid, bad, moronic choices and behavior. As we used to preach to our sons as teens:

“Don’t let your mouth write checks your ass can’t cash”.

Comment by GingerB on 2009-09-22 12:56:46 -0700 #

Normally I avoid social workers.
But we had one when spouse has a BMT.

Not only did she give us paperwork to get a grant for uncovered prescriptions, of which we had plenty, but she also gave us a parking pass that let us into the lot in the building where he went every day.

Now that is something to write home about 🙂

Comment by heliox on 2009-09-22 13:27:57 -0700 #

We had a genuine MSW who laid handsonprayed and spoke in tongues over patients without their permission.

Comment by jayman920 on 2009-09-22 14:39:28 -0700 #

tap, I enjoy reading some of your rANTS, HOWEVER, today you had a post saying all customers were idiots, did you ever think if we skip your shack of a store you would be out on your ass? Customers first jackass

Comment by Dr. Grumpy on 2009-09-22 16:17:46 -0700 #

I love them, too. I’ve had “hospital liason” social workers call me because a patient complained about me. And when I try to tell my side of the story they interupt me with: “But Doctor! Patients wouldn’t lie!”

Comment by Cody on 2009-09-22 17:32:45 -0700 #

“90days nexium for $1300? its £75 over here in the UK, not entirely sure on exchange rates but one of us is paying the wrong price.”

You know that the States don’t have UHC, right?

Comment by Wayspirit on 2009-09-22 19:51:29 -0700 #

I work outpatient in a hospital and work with our Case Managers DAILY to get “underprivelaged” patients their free medicine which they are apparently entitled to. Not only are the Case Managers absolutely awesome, they also take the time to bitch about their needy patients 🙂 I love it that I can call them and usually get something figured out, and they’re the closest thing to Social Workers that I ever deal with.

Comment by john Woolman on 2009-09-23 00:13:15 -0700 #

In the UK a social worker or nurse who did that in a publicly funded (NHS) facility would be fired.

Comment by KoschKitty on 2009-09-23 02:22:22 -0700 #

“90days nexium for $1300? its £75 over here in the UK, not entirely sure on exchange rates but one of us is paying the wrong price.”

I pay 18€ for a 30day supply, which is the full price here (in Germany) because insurance does not cover it at all. My dad is prescribed this because he has a PEG tube and the doctor and pharmacist say this is the only medication of this kind that can be pulverised and given via a PEG. Normal stomach problems, get cheap generic stuff and it will be fully covered.

Comment by LD50placebo_effect on 2009-09-23 14:30:07 -0700 #

There are other proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), drugs like Nexium, that may be administered in a liquid form via naso-gastric tub (whereas PEG is a tube from outside body directly into stomach). Please, do not discredit the value of generic PPI’s.

Per Pharmacist Letter [Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter 2008;24(12):241204.] “Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a special case. They are acid labile and absorbed in the intestine. Because of this, they are formulated to be protected as they move through the acidic environment of the stomach. The following PPIs can be administered through an NG tube: the delayed-release oral suspensions of esomeprazole, omeprazole, and pantoprazole; esomeprazole, lansoprazole, and omeprazole granules from opened capsules; and Prevacid SoluTab.”

From experience in the hospital setting when our formulary is restricted to only one agent of the PPI class, there may be consideration of whether to mix the PPI with acidic or alkaline liquids (like sodium bicarbonate) depending on location of the end of the tube i.e. acidic environment of stomach, or alkaline environment of small intestine.

Also there’s a reference on the internet:

(Bottom line: there are other alternatives to brand name Nexium for use in PEG particularly if cost is the issue for administration via PEG.)

Comment by another pharmer on 2009-09-24 00:17:07 -0700 #

I have occasionally dealt with social workers. There are 2 camps for sure in that profession. Usually the older ones know exactly what is going on and how get things done. Those guys rock. My most recent experience with one of them was when someone was getting discharged from the hospital for a DVT. The social worker called me told me the doctor had order Arixtra and asked me to see if the insurance would cover it. They gave me the oral I typed it up and informed her, no they will not. She told me she figured and called back with a new script less than 5 minutes later for appropriately dosed and covered Lovenox. She saved me a bunch of time, as I would have been trying to get a hospitalist on the line at the worse hospital in the area.

I have also dealt with the other type of social worker. They are almost always young and stupidly idealistic. My response when they start bitching is always the same. You are the social worker, there are programs out there to cover this stuff. Get off your ass, do some research and figure it out. Your job is to get these people on those programs not bitch about the injustice of the world. They usually get off the line pretty soon after that. Really if the social worker is calling you and doesn’t already know both the problem and solution they aren’t a very good social worker.

Comment by 247 Heidi on 2009-09-24 04:37:58 -0700 #

Hahaha! Idiot ditch diggers………I love it. Its too bad that category B of social workers do not understand a chain of command or how the system works. They should all get basic training on the fact that the pharmacist is THE LAST person involved in getting the drug to the patient. First there are doctors, then insurance cos……..etc. etc. Its amazing how many tools roam the earth 🙂

Comment by ChloeB on 2009-09-24 04:42:58 -0700 #

I think the point they are trying to make is that $1300 dollars is a *lot* more to be paying for a 90 day supply of Nexium than pretty much everywhere else in the world.
Here in Australia the unsubsidised price for 30 tablets of Nexium 40mg would only be $58.67 (possibly plus an additional dispensing fee, depending on the pharmacy).
Just some food for thought…

Comment by LD50placebo_effect on 2009-09-24 09:23:27 -0700 #

Thanks. Exactly.
Patients can get a month’s worth of OTC Prilose for $35.00, probably less for generic on a script paying cash?

My point? Cost of drug for therapeutic effect depends on how to play the game, sometimes.

If the patient thinks they need Brand Name only, and insurance will not pay, the drug cost to the patient may be $1,300.

Don’t know if the pharmacy ever sees that $1,300. If the patient’s got such and such insurance, they may only have to pay whatever tier the company decides the drug is deemed as a co-pay. The company pays whatever they want to the pharmacy based on some contractual agreement. Who knows what the pharmacy is paid? And, what difference does it make if the insurance company contractual agreement ensures a certain level of business for the pharmacy?

Which is why two long-standing locally owned chains in my town went under when Medicare reimbursement rates dropped 7-8 years ago, and the emergence of major, major chain didn’t even have to outdo those smalltown drugstores in sales, which would’ve been reason enough to consider suits against the megalomanic monopolistic company that moved into sacred Natural Wetlands for undercutting the local businesses, but it wasn’t.

Comment by Robert on 2009-09-24 12:43:14 -0700 #

Ditto, and all of the sudden the condensending attitude stops. Go Figure!

Comment by Robert on 2009-09-24 12:44:32 -0700 #


Comment by Liz RPh on 2009-09-24 16:14:22 -0700 #

I don’t want to speak for Steven (who quoted the $1300 price for 90 days of Nexium), but I think he might have been exaggerating for effect. I work at a big-chain pharmacy in the Midwest, and our price for 90 days of Neixum 40mg (dosed one time daily) is in the neighborhood of $500.

Of course, chemically, Nexium (esomeprazole) is very similar to Prilosec (omeprazole), which is why I often recommend trying generic Prilosec at the same strength and dosage regimen as the Nexium that works for patients trying to save money. Drugs companies like to *slightly* modify drugs enough to get a new patent when the old one is on the verge of going off patent.

On topic, I’ve never spoken to any social workers while on the job myself. I just get to hear from patients who tell me that they *just* talked to their SW, and of *course* their state insurance is still current, so my computer system (and the state’s phone eligibility line) are both wrong. Riiiiiiiiiight.

Comment by Meg Thornton on 2009-09-25 09:41:23 -0700 #

Social workers were our ummm… callers of choice at one helpdesk I worked on too. I used to suspect there was a nice little hiring policy involved in picking out support staff like social workers, occupational psychologists, and similar for this organisation: they’d be led to a room with a computer, a bowl of fruit salad, and a boot arranged on a desk. The task was to pick the computer best of five. If they couldn’t do that, they were in.

I have never in my life run across a single professional group who were more technologically challenged. I’ve only ever had to instruct one caller in over eight years of helpdesk experience on the difference between left-clicking and right-clicking… and that was a social worker. I’ve spent up to an hour on the phone with a social worker, patiently talking them through troubleshooting and fixes for the problems besetting them, only to discover the base issue was something as simple as “try logging into the computer using your own user name rather than the guest account”. With some of them, I swear it was like trying to nail feathers through concrete, tip first, to get even basic computing concepts through to them.

When I die, and go to hell, it will be a large room, filled with social workers and computers. All the computers will be running Windows NT4 (without any service packs) in a peer-to-peer network and the social workers will subdivide if I attempt to murder them. My task will be to get them all logged in and working. Sisyphus has it easy.

Comment by OUT FOR LIFE on 2009-09-26 07:37:48 -0700 #

Typical of all social systems. Someone else should pay, but I highly doubt either of the compassionate social workers offered to. You were just supposed to pull it out of your pocket angry.

Comment by Watson349 on 2009-09-26 10:04:12 -0700 #

I am not sure about UK, but in the States, we do not have price control. This means that the $1300 we have to pay is also covering other countries that do have price control.

Comment by Watson349 on 2009-09-26 10:22:33 -0700 #

I am not sure if the “but the patient needs it” social workers knows how the real world works. We work for what we want and pay for what we get. It seems to me that these SW’s go around all day finding other people (programs/grants) to pay for things. Do they really believe that everything can or should be free?

I had a coversation with a SW that goes like this:

Me: TAR is not approved yet.
SW: I know it will be, can’t you just give it to the pt free?
Me: No. I am not allowed to do that.
SW: Why not?
Me: I am an employee at this pharmacy. I do not own the drugs, I cannot give away drugs that aren’t mine.
SW: You pharmacists make a lot of money, can you spot the pt?
Me: Excuse me?
Me: (chuckle). I already pay my taxes. Thank you. (hangup)

This is the only time I have conversations with any SW. I do regret that it has to be something like this.

Comment by constantlyconfusedpharmstudent on 2009-09-28 12:02:20 -0700 #

So I know this is really not what the post is about, but I thought I share the experience and had a question about it. Just having finished my community rotation I obviously met my fair share of complete morons, but this one in particular topped them all. A man comes in and explains to my preceptor he left his prescription of Norvir in his car all day. Which I am sure you all know is supposed to be refrigerated, and also very expensive. So everything is ok until he blames the pharmacist for not counseling him correctly. Other then the quite obvious fact his prescription said in bold letters REFRIGERATE, and the general knowledge most things get damaged when left in a hot car apparently we are responsible for letting them know every painstakingly obvious detail. There is no doubt this man is a complete idiot and does win my personal award for the title for the year so far and says a lot about our society’s lack of personal responsibility, but is offering a chance for a counsel to someone picking up a prescription and then them verbally refusing enough to cover the requirements of making sure every patient is counseled?

Comment by The Happy Pharmacist on 2009-09-28 18:28:07 -0700 #

Frankly, once you get over the fact that everyone is a moron (except you)… every idiotic conversation just makes the workday that much more pleasant. Regardless, the rant was hilarious (especially the future-billing).

Comment by MB on 2009-09-29 10:23:16 -0700 #

I can see it about $1320 for a 90 day supply. 6 bottles of 30 capsules each, each bottle running about $220 at the community pharmacy I work at. I remember the whole shit storm that we got from patients when at the start of the new year, New York State plans stopped covering nexium and people were shocked at how much they had to pay and how it was unfair that we were charging so much for it. A number switched to generic prilosec but just about all the medicaid patients had tried to get their SW to call to complain, only a couple called (the stupid ones), threatening to have us reported to the board of pharmacy for various reasons.

Comment by Chuck in MI on 2009-09-30 05:54:01 -0700 #

These are real social workers licensed in the state they work in. As a former foster parent, I’ve dealt with the stupid ones too.

Comment by peon on 2009-09-30 19:02:30 -0700 #

The next time a social worker asks if you can GIVE the patient the med until insurance pays for it, just ask them for their credit card number. You will charge it to their card and when the insurance company pays you, then you will reimburse them.

I think that should stop most of the whining from social workers. 🙂

Comment by Gary on 2009-10-01 15:06:14 -0700 #

Loss leader and Who runs how pharmacy is ACTUALLY practiced in Retail
From Wikipedia
A loss leader or leader[1] is a product sold at a low price (at cost or below cost)[2] to stimulate other, profitable sales. It is a kind of sales promotion, in other words marketing concentrating on a pricing strategy. The price can even be so low that the product is sold at a loss. A loss leader is often a popular article

Have you ever heard the term applied to retail pharmacy ? With Walmart and other chains offering $4.00 generics, other chains are price-matching , in addition to offering transfer coupons.

With a $4.00 prescription, how much profit can be made. I have personally transferred Rx’s for chewable fluoride for a few dollars each and had to give a $25 gift card for use in front-end merchandise. The chain is RiteAid and they allow upto 4 gift cards per person. This probably gives a false impression to stockholders that front-end sales have gone up, when in reality, they are getting the merchandise for free.

I have made the argument, to just replace the pharmacy with an ATM machine – which charges $2.50 or more to automatically give you your own money ! No Insurance calls needed.

Add to this situation, low reimbursements from government welfare insurances, and the low profits have to be offset by increased prescription volume. That means more “lick-stick and pour”. So the strategy is to have a Pharmacy that does extreme high prescription volumes in order to make a profit.

Also, some corporate idiot decided to keep open some RiteAid stores for 14 hours. That means the Pharmacist working on that day, has a 14 hour day scheduled with NO breaks, time to eat, or time to just relieve mental stress by taking a break to walk away from the zoo.



Comment by pharmacy chick on 2009-10-02 20:49:28 -0700 #

Tap, I wont deal with social workers..we call them case-workers here. They have no jurisdiction over anything I can or cannot do. If said customer wants something fixed then let the case worker fix it. I wont deal with it. Medicaid is the biggest pain in the arse we have. At least when we went online billing years ago, it minimized the rejt claims. we used to have this archaic system where we blacked in little circles for every rx received. every patient got an alottment of 6 rx per month. thats it. Now of course they can get 60! but at least we know if we are paid.

Comment by Watson349 on 2009-10-03 00:55:36 -0700 #

laws say we have to OFFER consultation, not making sure they are counseled.

Comment by another pharmer on 2009-10-04 13:26:26 -0700 #

I have to disagree pharmacy chick. In my state medicaid really isn’t any bigger pain in the rear then any other insurance. Granted medicaid patients are the most needy and irresponsible patients we have but I know all medicaid’s policies off the top of my head. In a lot of ways the actual medicaid insurance is the easist insurance we have to deal with since their copays and policies are the same across the board.

Comment by john doe on 2009-10-05 18:48:29 -0700 #

pharmacists couldn’t become real doctors lol

Comment by just a girl on 2009-10-05 19:16:22 -0700 #

Drive on by! The speed limit is 45 mph, please go 50, and wave as you race by… will not be missed! And yes, I prefer jackass to idiot!

Comment by BD on 2009-10-06 20:55:06 -0700 #

No kidding. That’s the first thing I thought of when I saw that.

Comment by Richard Hemby on 2009-10-08 08:18:23 -0700 #

Hiya, I can’ find your email address, so I’m leaving you a comment.

I just put together a list of the best iphone/itouch apps for Pharmacists, could you share my post with your readers? If there’s a app you use often in the field that isn’t on my list, let me know in the comments (or email me) and I can add it. Did you know apps can be written off on taxes?:) Might even be able to write off a iphone too if you can show that you only use it for work (for the apps!).

Here’s the post:

Thanks much,


Comment by Stove on 2009-10-15 21:52:33 -0700 #

You’re still being gouged, mate. Don’t for a second think that you’re subsidizing prices in the rest of the world. I don’t know any drug companies that would sell their drugs at a loss, so they’re just making way bigger profits off you than they are the rest of the world. And its not as if they’re starving for profits.

Comment by Miss Yvonne on 2009-10-21 23:34:44 -0700 #

I am a social worker and I’m happy to report that NEVER ONCE have I had a conversation even remotely similar to the ones sampled above. There are so many websites out there to help locate prescription assistance, it’s just ridiculous to harass the pharmacist about these things. Someday maybe our profession will get the respect so many of us deserve…but most likely it will continue to be the exceptions who get the attention. On behalf of capable, resourceful, realistic, and (sometimes) angry social workers everywhere, I’m mortified.

Comment by Katrina CPhT on 2009-10-23 10:14:30 -0700 #

You do know that some pharmacists have doctorates and can write a prescription too, right??? O_o

Comment by JenJen on 2009-10-27 04:16:41 -0700 #

This is a bad site to tap into right before a shift. I don’t want to go to work today.

Comment by JamieJane on 2009-11-19 21:52:07 -0800 #

Well I don’t know what state you live in, but that sounds fantastic. Over here in CA it’s a lot different. My biggest headache is Medical (Medicaid) customers and their allowed 6 prescriptions plus the 6 more we have to TAR. Consider yourself lucky.

Comment by ladyk73 on 2009-11-21 00:20:36 -0800 #

“social worker” can mean so many things. Most “caseworkers” are not social workers, and some people who call themselves a social worker have not been granted a degree of any sort. It is such a general term, like “doctor,” that could describe a physician, a rocket scientist, or some weird english prof. Anyways, I am a “social worker.” In my last gig I did call pharmacists… I was a discharge planner in big regional level one trauma hospital.

I would call to make sure the little itty bitty pharmacy in the one horse town could stock lovenox in time for a safe discharge. I have called insurance companies to pre-authorized meds (like the attending had time for that!!!).

The most ironic part of that…..was it was us social workers who did the dirty work by telling patients (who were in bad shape, actually) that their was no medical reason for them to be in the hospital and that they need to go (home, to subacute rehab, skilled nursing)
Basically doing the sorts of things the attendings were too chicken shit to do. Crazy

But seriously, social work and case workers are generally confused all of the time.

Comment by sam on 2009-12-04 16:14:47 -0800 #

I love this trick. Any pt or representative of the pt, SW or whatnot included, bitching about Zyvox not being covered, I simply cash it out, fill the rx and scan it at the register. 99% of the time, the rxn would be WTF!!!!! Yep. mofo, you got it! that’s how much it costs and that’s why their NOT covering it. So, would that be debit or credit?

Comment by NOT an IDIOT, but I think if I wore a white coat I could be on 2010-01-22 21:31:30 -0800 #

Hey TAP: darned, dude..go get some coitus; you’re suffering!
Honestly, about the attitude toward customers/ suck. You’re also the reason that your competition will thrive. If I were your store’s GM I’d say ” I’m going to take your $95K a year job and give it to the next chem nerd fresh out of college..because you’re chasing away customers..” THEN, I’d book you flight, to someplace warm, booking your seat to be right next to a Diaper BOMBER..that way you could finally get an idea of what HOT SHIT really looks like, because what stares you in the face when you shave ain’t it…

As a chronic pain patient, with an IQ of 136, with a degree in biology and a minor in Organic Chem..from the very place where the father of Organic Chem studied and taught..( break out the atlas jack ass…it’s someplace west of the Rockies…)…I can tell you that you ain’t the only one with a modicum of intellect. What I can tell you is that you’ve missed your calling: PRISON GUARD at GITMO is what you really should be doing with your time.

In the interim: go and book yourself a flight to Thailand and get yourself laid for a solid week…don’t forget to bring your little blue helpers, hidden from customs in your….sorry…that place is too uptight to ram a jack hammer into…SOLID… okay, maybe you could just “wing it” any rate, dude…go get some…

In closing: I myself have grown SICK and TIRED of taking the INSULT dished out with INJURY that is the norm from the white coat assholes at the local pharmacy with which I deal. I have suffered blown vertebrae from lifting a car off of a dying teenager..I got him out, applied cpr and actually saved his life for ten minutes.His injuries were too severe. He died. I also got an umbiliacal herniation out of the deal. ALL that EMT training helped this poor schmuck for ten minutes, and has allowed me to suffer ten years since. So, in short. EX CUSE THE FUCK OUT OF ME if I have to chew on pills in order to have some SEMBLANCE of a FUCKING LIFE!! Do YOU know what it’s like to wake up in writhing agony every morning? To fight the burning stabbing sharp sensations that FLAME on you as you try and get up? How about working and feeling like that? HUH? Then, when the sciatic nerve is just about dead, from being squished by a twisted vertebrae, you go and get mucked up on by a schmuck buddy of a doctor that only succeeds in trading one set of agony for another…oh, and at the very end of this…you get to be “bagged on” by a PHUCKING PHARMACIST who thinks you’re only getting HIGH..well PHUCK YOU. I’d like to hear from a PHARMACIST who has spinal instrumentation, degraded sciatic nerve, and degenerative arthritis in each and every disc on his/her spine…and then have to physically work all day long…the type of work that makes you sweat..and gives callouses… I’d like YOU to feel that way. Maybe then you’d either: A) BACK OFF on your customers, or B) go get a Prison Guard uniform and do cavity checks on inmates….late at night..

Tell me you booked that flight to Thailand….

Comment by NOT an IDIOT, but I think if I wore a white coat I could be on 2010-01-22 21:34:15 -0800 #

I concur. Read above….if they have the testicles to print it..and not delete my comments.

Comment by What? on 2010-03-24 21:50:45 -0700 #

So let me get this straight you have an IQ of 136 but only a BA and are unable to get any sort of professional job so instead you do manual labor? Doesn’t sound like you’ve been making very good choices for someone who is so intelligent.

Comment by Mary Augusting, a pharmacist on 2010-03-28 18:33:27 -0700 #

I”m sorry a fellow human being is experiencing incapacitating pain. It cannot be easy to deal with unrelenting agony. Spinal nerve and sciatic compression pain have got to be one of the worst types of pain, on top of continual aggravation on movement. The issue is not the people in constant pain but those abusing pain medications greedily while those with legitimate, barely or uncontrolled pain suffer from ineffective therapies.

Comment by Ikucher on 2010-04-15 12:55:15 -0700 #


Comment by LOL on 2010-04-27 16:02:12 -0700 #

Zyvox $5.00 co pay here and no script insurance.

Pharmacists I know are cool. LOL

The ones here are idiots I agree with the info at top:
“There are idiot doctors, idiot bus drivers and idiot ditch diggers. The only exception to this rule is pharmacists, which they are all idiot pharmacists.”

Comment by EEB on 2010-07-15 12:32:48 -0700 #

The bulk of the cost of a drug is the research cost. The US pays for that pretty much single-handedly (Japan helps — they pay premiums for new drugs), while countries with price controls pay only a small profit off the production cost. Thus, once the US has paid to develop the drug, the company is better off selling it to the price-controlled world than not doing so … but without someone paying the research cost, the supply of new drugs dries up.

Comment by Jennifer on 2010-11-03 16:35:50 -0700 #

Keep in mind that alot of people that call themselves “social workers” are NOT social workers. There is specific training in areas such as government policy, psychology, research, etc that qualify someone to be a social worker. Some states, like mine, will hire people that aren’t social workers, but have some other random, kind of related degree, and give them a social work license due to shortages of real social workers. “Social workers” employed in the private sector, often don’t have a degree in social work either. Social work is the only profession I know of in which people don’t understand it’s not a title, but a profession in and of itself. Nurses can’t call themselves doctors, pharmacists can’t call themselves lawyers, psychologists can’t call themselves psychiatrists….but in my state you can call yourself a social worker with a degree in anthropology. Next time ask the person you’re having trouble with if they have a degree in Social Work. If they don’t, ask them why they call themselves that.

Comment by Monsieur on 2010-11-19 09:57:56 -0800 #

Actually, the Bachelor’s in Pharmacy has been phased out. Pharmacy DOCTORATE is what you come out of R.Ph. school with these days.

Comment by Betsy R on 2010-11-27 22:04:30 -0800 #

I was a public welfare worker in Dallas, TX, many years. Technically, not a social worker. I never once made such a call.

Now Texas is the most chinchy state. Yes, Medicaid recipients are irresponsible.

In Dallas, if their Medicaid was not active, the reply is go to Parkland Memorial Hospital or to Children’s Hospital. Oh, person does not to want to do that. Drugs are already at a local pharmacy.

Oh, so the person went a private ER without a pharmacy dishing out drugs free? I have been bugged by the same person several times in one day to finish her kid’s Medicaid.

Sorry, I had other people to see and it is not my fault free drugs are not everywhere. Needed time for lunch myself. My own blood sugar crashing and I will be insane if I do not eat and no one else will finish your case. Plus, it may not go smoothly in the computer: today, tomro, or even next week!

Well, perhaps you can get this or that church charity to pay for it. It’s usually possible, even in Texas.

Irresponsbility is the norm for a certain level of person. It’s not my fault you took your asthmatic kid to a private instead of a public ER. Children’s Hospital in Dallas is private, but they do have programs to help kids get their meds fast.

Comment by Jason on 2012-08-11 15:07:51 -0700 #

People like you are the reason I am misanthropic.

Comment by Burned Out Social Worker on 2012-10-14 14:03:37 -0700 #


I ran across your blog after googling “social workers are idiots”. I’m actually a fairly young/new social worker who works in a hospital setting. Fortunately, I usually get along with the other professions I work with because I try to do my job well and efficiently. I suppose it also helps that when it comes to society and people, I am very cynical.

Allow me to share two stories. One is my personal experience with a patient in pain. The other is an experience with a social worker from another hospital.

Story #1:
Me: Can I ask you a few questions?
Patient: Sure! (The patient then proceeds to answer a bunch of questions and is quite friendly. No distress noted.)
Nurse (who walks in to check vitals): What is your pain level from a scale of 1-10?
Patient: 10!
Me: [Rolls eyes as I leave patient’s room]

I suppose I’m so bitter from the number of pain-med seeking patients I get that when someone complains of pain I can’t help but wonder if he/she is lying. With regards to those overly entitled social workers, I don’t understand why they were asking you to call the insurance companies for pain med authorization. That’s the job of the social worker or nurse case worker.

Story #2:
Me: I have a patient whose babies are being transferred to your hospital. The parents cannot afford to drive over there (which is a lie) and we can only give out so many free bus passes. Do you know of any resources that can help us?
Social worker at other hospital: Why don’t you just give them money?
Me: Unfortunately we don’t do that.
Social worker at other hospital: WHY NOT???????????
Me: Um, that’s not our policy here.
Social worker at other hospital: WHY ISN’T IT?????
Me: It just isn’t.
Social worker at other hospital: Fine, just get them here and we’ll take care of the rest [click].

Maybe I’m just jaded, but I learned long ago that you can only do so much to help patients, especially if they refuse to help themselves. Sorry you had to deal with such idiot social workers. Trust me, I feel your pain as when I was in grad school, I was often frustrated by the excessive idealism and incompetence displayed by a number of my classmates. People like them make our field look really bad.

While we may be individuals with soft science degrees (sans a few scientists I know who went back to get MSWs), we’re not all idiots!