Christine Schavier

Wisconsin Dells

I have been dealing with severe psoriatic arthritis for the past 17 years. This condition causes severe pain in my joints and affects my ability to walk and perform normal, everyday activities.
To help manage my pain, my rheumatologist prescribed an infusion medication that helps with joint swelling and stiffness. I was to receive these infusions in 30-minute appointments at Reedsburg Area Medical Center every six weeks.
More often than not, my infusion appointments needed to be rescheduled because the medication did not arrive at the hospital when it was supposed to. I did not realize that my medication was not being prepared onsite in the hospital’s inhouse pharmacy. Instead, my pharmacist explained, my insurance company required the drug I needed to be delivered from a specialty pharmacy far away.
My doctor and local pharmacist shared in my frustration with this insurance company tactic, as it affected my care and consumed hours of valuable time from all parties who now had to manage a needlessly complicated medication supply chain.
Both the pharmacy team in Reedsburg and I spent countless hours contacting my insurance company and the specialty pharmacy trying to make sure that my medication would arrive in time for my appointments. Despite these efforts, the medications continued to be sent late or not at all. Scheduling and rescheduling my many infusion appointments is burdensome to me, my loved ones and those who provide my health care. And all the while, I was not receiving the treatments I desperately needed to ease my pain.
I see no upside to this “white bagging” process, in which my health insurer mandated an outside source for my medication. My medication could have and should have been allowed to be supplied by my hospital’s pharmacy. That way, it would have arrived on time, and when I needed it.
Suffering patients should not have to spend their time and energy fighting with insurance companies and specialty pharmacies to get the medicine they need to function, or worse, survive.