Saturday, November 18, 2017
Health

Prescription rules have been eased so Irma evacuees can get their medications

RECOMMENDED READING


Florida residents who are considering evacuating the state before Hurricane Irma are advised to check in with their local pharmacies as soon as possible to receive medication refills that can last through the duration of the Category 5 storm and its aftermath.

The state Office of Insurance Regulation issued a notice to health care providers that they must waive time restrictions on prescription refills after Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in Florida on Wednesday.

Insurance provider Florida Blue is allowing members in Florida to get temporary 30-day emergency supplies of medication from in-network pharmacies, which include those out of state, from Sept. 5-19. Members who choose an out-of-network pharmacy may not be able to fill their prescriptions early, according to a press release. Most third-party plans are allowing for expedited 30-day refills as well.

Florida Blue encourages patients to take their medication as prescribed during and after the storm. Residents should also keep a list of all their medications and dosages with other important documents in a safe and dry location.

RELATED COVERAGE: Impact on Tampa Bay depends on when Irma turns right

Publix is processing a record number of prescriptions in Florida this week in anticipation of Hurricane Irma, said Brian West, a spokesman for the Lakeland-based grocer. Publix pharmacy customers can have a prescription refilled at any Publix location, he said.

CVS is allowing pharmacists to provide one-time emergency refills on 10-day supplies of medication for CVS Caremark and CVS Health plan members in areas impacted by Hurricane Irma. In addition, CVS is making automated calls and using its mobile app to remind patients who live in Florida to place refill orders as soon as possible.

Walgreens and Winn-Dixie are also providing emergency refills on maintenance medications that are non-controlled substances. If Winn-Dixie customers are evacuating the state, they can also refill prescriptions at pharmacies in other Southeastern Grocers chain stores, like Bi-Lo, which has grocery stores in the Carolinas and Harveys Supermarket, which has stores in Georgia. With more than 8,200 locations nationwide, Walgreens customers can call or use the pharmacy's mobile app to refill prescriptions at any location in the country.

If a Walgreens store is forced to close because of the hurricane, customers can find updates on when stores will reopen at Walgreens.com and on the mobile app.

RELATED COVERAGE: How to use the internet during a hurricane when the internet is down

At Walmart and Sam's Club, customers can refill prescriptions online or in stores.

"Prescriptions are an important part of being prepared for an evacuation. Our pharmacies are dedicated to providing prescriptions and immunizations to customers in all areas of Florida during this emergency," said Regan Dickens, a spokesman for Walmart. "We are working with our supplies to help stay in stock, and our pharmacies will remain open as long as conditions remain safe for our customers and associates."

Contact Justine Griffin at jgriffin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.

Comments
New shingles vaccine touted as a breakthrough for older adults

New shingles vaccine touted as a breakthrough for older adults

Medical researchers and government health policymakers, a cautious lot, normally take pains to keep expectations modest when they’re discussing some new finding or treatment.They warn about studies’ limitations. They point out what isn’t known. They ...
Published: 11/17/17
In Tampa Bay and elsewhere, early numbers show record sign-ups for Obamacare

In Tampa Bay and elsewhere, early numbers show record sign-ups for Obamacare

Despite the budget cuts, the attempts to repeal and replace, and reports of sharp rises in premiums, Floridians and other Americans are signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act at record rates this year.Enrollment has surged 47 p...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Study: Mental quickness exercises can lower risk of dementia

Study: Mental quickness exercises can lower risk of dementia

Where did I leave my keys?As we age, it can take longer to answer a question like that.Humans begin to lose cognitive ability at age 25. Dementia, or the decline of memory most commonly seen in aging adults, takes hold early on and is gradual, but ac...
Published: 11/16/17
Blood pressure of 130 is the new ‘high,’ according to update of guidelines

Blood pressure of 130 is the new ‘high,’ according to update of guidelines

The nation’s heart experts tightened the guidelines for high blood pressure Monday, a change that will sharply increase the number of U.S. adults considered hypertensive in the hope that they, and their doctors, will address the deadly condition earl...
Published: 11/13/17
Are Honey Nut Cheerios healthy? A look inside the box

Are Honey Nut Cheerios healthy? A look inside the box

I had a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios recently. It had been awhile. Regular Cheerios are more my thing. But sometimes I finish my box faster than my kids do and find myself straying to their side of the cupboard.Honey Nut is America’s best-selling break...
Published: 11/11/17
Owner of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg faces federal inquiry over funds for low-income patients

Owner of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg faces federal inquiry over funds for low-income patients

The corporate owner of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg could be facing a serious federal investigation related to its commitment to take care of St. Petersburg’s poorest residents.In its most recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commiss...
Published: 11/09/17
Updated: 11/14/17
Learn to practice gratitude year-round, not just on Thanksgiving

Learn to practice gratitude year-round, not just on Thanksgiving

Is it part of your Thanksgiving tradition to go around the dinner table and have everyone share one thing they are thankful for? The exercise reminds us that the day is about more than just turkey and pie. And, for those who take it seriously, it for...
Published: 11/07/17
Updated: 11/10/17
When the goal is getting to the ER fast and cheap, some choose Uber over 911

When the goal is getting to the ER fast and cheap, some choose Uber over 911

Matt Lavin had just arrived in Charlottesville, Va., for a business trip when he started feeling sick. By the time he got to his hotel around 11 p.m., he felt excruciating pain. "I didn’t know what was happening, but I knew something wasnR...
Published: 11/06/17

Stunning study: Heart stents fail to ease chest pain

A procedure used to relieve chest pain in hundreds of thousands of heart patients each year is useless for many of them, researchers reported Wednesday.Their study focused on the insertion of stents, tiny wire cages, to open blocked arteries. The dev...
Updated one month ago
Vigil calls attention to overdose victims, and brings hope

Vigil calls attention to overdose victims, and brings hope

NEW PORT RICHEY — The room was filling up fast. For Monica Rousseau, the sight of so many people searching for a seat at the annual Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education candlelight vigil was both heartbreaking and uplifting. "I can’t even gues...
Updated one month ago