Born from the most trusted profession, I am your medication advocate
I never even considered attending pharmacy school as a teenager, not once! Pretty much all I could think about those days was football.
When I decided I wanted to go to Butler University to play football, my dad suggested I try pharmacy. The rest as they say, is history.
Once I started school, I grew to love the profession of pharmacy. I grew to love the profession that is so highly regarded by the public.
My friends from high school couldn’t believe I didn’t fail out of pharmacy school!
My whole attitude changed about schooling during the transition from high school to college. I was now paying for my education and I decided to get it in gear!
By my last year of pharmacy school, I was honored to be selected to compete for the clinical skills competition against other classmates from Butler University. I was thrilled that I was able to win the Butler competition.
That meant I would get to compete against winners from pharmacy schools all over the U.S. at the biggest pharmacy conference all year!
One of the great things about being the Butler representative was you were the recipient of a dinner with the Dean of the pharmacy school and other faculty. I was very excited to have an opportunity to go to the nicest restaurant I had ever been to at that point in my life, Emerils. The dinner was going great, and then my Dean asked me what I was going to do after graduation. She was hoping I would say I would do a residency and use my clinical skills to become an advanced practice pharmacist.
I did give residency a lot of thought, but the practical side of me wanted to start working and earning a decent salary, something residency wouldn’t provide for at least another year. With a good amount of college loans to pay, this seemed like a no brainer at the time.
Back to the question…
I then proceeded to tell the Dean that after graduation I was going to work for a Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM), which is another name for an insurance company. Several of my professors and especially my Dean were not happy as they saw this as me not living up to my potential.
Needless to say the rest of the dinner was not as fun!
Looking back, I can see why they reacted the way they did. Pharmacists were supposed to be trusted resources to help patients. PBM’s were viewed as large companies that charged patients high prices and hurt smaller independent pharmacies with their policies.
Early in my career I wondered if I had made a mistake not taking the advice of my Dean. As time went on I learned about how PBM’s work, and how they design benefits. I saw how confusing medication in general is for patients.
I was on the front lines talking to people about sending mail order medications to them. Trying to convince them to use the lower cost option. However, this was very confusing to patients.
Hospital pharmacy was and is a side hustle
I got a job at a local hospital in the inpatient pharmacy and would work some nights and weekends. At first it was to keep up on my pharmacy knowledge so that I could go back to “regular pharmacy” if the PBM job fell through.
What I learned at the hospital job was that patients come in on several drugs. The hospital has a formulary, so they change your drugs to the ones they prefer during your stay. Then when they get ready to send you home, you are given scripts. Problem is they are for drugs that are not going to be covered by your insurance.
It is a really bad system, and even with all the advances in health technology, it still isn’t great.
I quickly realized it is dangerous for patients to come to the hospital, just because of changes in medications. Without getting into the part about the risk of infection or medicine mistakes.
Start my own business?
For years I kept up both the PBM job and the side hustle. Discovering more and more holes in our healthcare system. I thought many times about starting my own business and even wrote out a business plan… twice. However, I never followed through on it.
I wanted to start a business that would help patients with understanding their medications. An online business seemed like a good way to reach more people. In 2009 I started following a guy named Pat Flynn who was running a business online and showing people the ropes. He was just getting started at that time. Now he is one of the most successful entrepreneurs online. Man, I wish I would have taken the plunge at that point!
The corporate ladder… and coaching?
Instead of a new business I focused on my energy on the success I was having at my PBM job. Using my pharmacy clinical knowledge and practical knowledge from my side hustle, I was moving up the ladder. I started participating in industry groups that provided me with exposure to many people in the pharmacy industry as a whole. Attending conferences and speaking at events that focused on health information technology soon followed. My network grew quickly and I became respected as an expert in this field.
At the same time my kids were getting involved in many sporting activities. I found myself coaching pee wee football, two youth basketball teams, softball and baseball. Before my kids came along I had never even given coaching a second thought. It was amazing how it just kind of happened from being a volunteer to more serious levels. Communicating what I had learned from playing in high school and college became my new duty. Then it grew and became about how can I make these kids better people and have an impact on their life.
The big change 2017
After coaching my kids for years, I realized that having other personalities coach them would be a good thing to help in their development. I started to transition some of the teams to other coaches.
My big surprise came in January of 2017. That morning my boss asked for a meeting with me on short notice, which was not unusual. When I dialed into the conference call to find out an human resources specialist was on as well. I will never forget my boss saying “Jason, I have some bad news”. Come to find out, I was being let go. Due to a corporate restructuring the company let go of 35 people in my division, including all of the team members that reported to me. It was shocking, I was devastated at first. Then I got mad.
I fired back as the HR lady was reading me some technical information… “but you just gave me my yearly review and I attained and surpassed all my goals. My grade on my review was great, I don’t get it?”
That is just how it is in corporate America sometimes.
I spent a lot of 2017 reflecting
The good news for me was it didn’t take long to find new job opportunities. I had worked with so many people from different companies over the years that several people offered an interview.
In fact, looking back now I realize that getting let go from my PBM job opened my eyes to what I was meant to do. The thing I was passionate about and would for sure enjoy!
During my time between jobs, I came to realize that I had a lot of specific knowledge that so many patients could benefit from. During my time at the side hustle hospital job I had given advice to hundreds of patients on how to save money on their medications. Frankly, I also gave advice to all sorts of friends, family and friends of friends about one medication question or another. The common theme seemed to be that they medication was so expensive they couldn’t afford to take it.
I now had the time to put together my thoughts for a book. Next, I researched and wrote it out. However, as often happens I didn’t get all the way to publishing it.
The new job
I started a new job at a great company in November of 2017. That consumed my time learning the ropes at a small company with only about 30 employees total. That was a major change from the giant company I had previously worked for.
One of my main projects was bringing up a system that would allow doctors to see drug pricing in their electronic medical records. The thought was if they could see drug prices while talking to the patient, they could find out if high price would be an issue. Hopefully, they would prescribe something more cost appropriate.
The doctors really loved the tool and they said that when time allowed during their patient visits they would use the information on cost. My thought was that they should use it ALL the time to prevent patients from having sticker shock at the pharmacy.
The coach in me came out!
Several months in on this project, I decided that the information I put together for the book needed to come out. Patients needed to be empowered to talk to the doctor about medication costs! They should not have to wait and hope the doctor wanted to talk to them about it.
The Amazon effect
I worked through the process of self publishing by listening to podcasts and reading up on the subject. Once I felt I had enough background, I took the book to Amazon that makes the process fairly simple for self publishers.
Then in November of 2018 I launched Prescription for Maximum Savings.
Once the book went live I realized that patients were not actively searching out saving on medications very often on their own. I started running some ads on Amazon to get people who were looking at certain things to think about my book.
Once I got the idea in front of people sales started to take off. My book was a best new book in several categories on Amazon. The reviews then started to flow in and I had so many positive reviews, it was a wonderful feeling!
What I realized was that I had to get people to understand there is something you can do about high drug prices. That is when my mindset changed and I decided I want to be a Patient Medication Advocate.
I can use my experience to coach you through talking to your doctor about the cost of medication.
I am trying to spread the word that medicine is NOT always the answer, but if it is it should not wreck your finances.
To date, I have helped thousands of people just like you who are struggling to pay for medication which makes them concerned about their health and well-being. If you are struggling to understand how to pay for your medication, then my blog and the free information it contains are for you. Click here to get started.
My goal is to spread the word on ways to ease the financial burden of how to pay for medications.
My journey has taken me through ups and downs but I am so glad that I now know why. Helping patients is what I am passionate about.
Now I’m committed to impacting as many patients as I can reach. I want to teach people how to be healthy with or without medications and at peace with less financial stress in their lives.
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Thank you very much for taking the time to read my story. If you have a question for me send me a message here.