Your pharmacy questions, answered

Photo of prescription

Sherry Morgan, 341st Medical Support Squadron pharmacy technician, counts medication Feb. 20, 2019, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. The pharmacy serves active-duty members, their families and retirees. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Lauren O’Connor)


In an effort to provide a better patient experience, here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

1. What does it mean to activate a prescription and how do I do it?

When providers send us prescriptions electronically, we do not automatically fill them. They must be activated to be filled. To activate, a patient must contact the pharmacy and give us the go-ahead to fill their prescription. Activating can be done by phone or in person. The preferred method is by phone at 406-731-2340. Activating via phone allows your prescription to be ready when you arrive and decreases the number of patients waiting in the lobby and pharmacy lines. You may also activate prescriptions in person by pulling a number, filling out the required half-sheet and then waiting to be called up to the pharmacy window.

2. How can I shorten the amount of time I spend at the pharmacy?

First, know which medications you need when you arrive at the window. Keep track of when your medications were last filled and when you are due for a refill. Use the automated refill line to call in refills. Also, ensure you bring an updated list of all medication allergies, and what reactions you had to each. The new MHS GENESIS patient portal is expected to be updated in the coming months to give patients the ability to request refills online.

3. What kind of prescriptions do you accept?

We accept electronic and written prescriptions. Our new electronic health record, MHS GENESIS, will allow us the ability to accept prescriptions for controlled substances electronically, as long as your providers have done their part to register. We do not accept faxed or verbal prescriptions.

4. How early can I call in my refills?

The automated system will let you call in refills when you have used roughly 75 percent of your prescription. The rules for controlled substance refills are more stringent. Generally, they can only be refilled two-to-three days early.  

5. Why won’t my refill go through when I call it in, even though my bottle shows I have refills left?

There are a few possible reasons for this. First, your prescription could be expired, which occurs one year from the date it was written for non-controlled medications, and six months for controlled medications. Secondly, your prescription could have been discontinued by your provider or by the pharmacy if we received a new prescription for the same medication. Lastly, it could be too early to refill your prescription. If you believe there is an error, please call the pharmacy and we will gladly research it for you.

If you have additional questions or concerns about any pharmacy process, please feel free to call us at 406-731-3095 or speak with a pharmacy staff member in person.

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