Bob has over 30 years of experience in retail, hospital and long term healthcare pharmacies. He owned his own pharmacy for 17 years.
Pharmacy Owner Bob Diamond at South Shore Pharmacy in Holland, Michigan in 1991
I had gained the media’s attention because I was the first pharmacist ever known at that time to have kicked Blue Cross out of any pharmacy.
There were two reasons; one, because Blue Cross was no longer profitable and; two, because of the way they unfairly audited pharmacies.
It was a tough decision to make, because they were the largest insurance provider in Michigan and a significant part of my business.
If they audited you, you automatically owed them from $17,000 to $25,000. They made the rules and pharmacists had no way to fight back, nor did we have any say in any part of the process.
The most logical path to success, that I could see, was for me to inoculate myself against Blue Cross by terminating our business relationship as soon as possible.
It took six or 7 years, with the help of a couple of other Michigan healthcare organizations and Lawmakers, including the governor of Michigan John Engler, who was made aware of and understood our plight, to legally change the parameters of audits and make them fair for pharmacies.
During this process we discovered that the head of the Michigan Pharmacists Association was cooperating with Blue Cross to defeat our efforts.
He was telling state legislators that the pharmacists from West Michigan were “radicals” and not to pay attention to us. He denied it, when I found out about it and challenged him from the floor at a pharmacy state convention in Dearborn.
Eventually he was forced to resign. I heard that he wound up somewhere in Indiana.
Pharmacists Dick Tuttle who was with a pharmacist buying group called “Pharmco,” that I was also an officer of, and Hank Fuchs who was on the board of the Michigan Pharmacists Association from Lansing were pivotal in our eventual success.
If you have a chance; and are interested, I will tell you what I heard happened, when one of the bosses at Blue Cross tried to get even with me, which proved that I was right to ditch Blue Cross before I started on this quest.
Sometimes you can find justice, if you are willing to fight hard enough and long enough.