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July 30, 2013

Compounding Legislation: Your Voice Urgently Needed Now!

Filed under: Current Issue,From the CEO,Quality,Regulation — Tags: , , , , — jmilford @ 12:29 pm
Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

It’s hard to believe that after the many deaths and illnesses associated with the alleged practices at the New England Compounding Center last Fall, the bipartisan Senate bill (S.959) that is designed to prevent a tragic repeat could be facing tremendous opposition.

ASHP strongly supports this legislation. Yet, it appears that opposition to the Senate bill is forming, because certain interests want to protect the status quo, which we believe could be at the expense of protecting patients from another compounding tragedy.

These special interests are also threatening to severely limit how pharmacists in hospitals and health systems serve and protect patients. ASHP supports the provision in the bill that exempts health systems from being designated as compounding manufacturers. Without this important exemption, many hospitals and health systems would have to register with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as compounding manufacturers, since anticipatory compounding is required for us to meet the needs of our sickest and most vulnerable patients.  Also, without the exemption, many hospitals would not be able to prepare compounded preparations and send them to their wholly owned outpatient clinics, surgery centers, smaller inpatient facilities, and medical office practices.   This is a critical distinction, based on the fact that hospitals and health systems are fully accountable for the comprehensive care of the patient – as compared to a compounding manufacturer that sells its products across state lines without a prescription or knowledge of the patient to a third party for administration.

This distinction between health systems and compounding manufacturers is based on very important differences:

  • Hospitals and health systems have well-established quality improvement, infection control, and risk management committees, as well as adverse event monitoring and reporting systems.
  • Health systems must comply with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Conditions of Participation and are accredited by quality improvement organizations such as The Joint Commission and DNV Healthcare, both of whom have deemed status with CMS.
  • Hospitals and health systems have Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committees that control approved drug formularies.

We must protect the important work that pharmacists do in hospitals and health systems to take care of their patients.  In addition, hospital pharmacists and other providers must be assured that when they need to purchase compounded products from outside suppliers that they can expect to receive products that are safe and effective for their patients.  Therefore, we must enact into law urgently needed regulatory control over compounding manufacturers to prevent another tragedy.

You can make a difference. Your voice really matters to your elected Senators and Representatives in Congress!

ASHP has made it as easy as just a few clicks on your computer for your voice to be heard.

Go to ASHP’s advocacy page and make a difference for patient safety!

Tell your Senators that you want them to vote “YES” in support of S. 959.  This legislation creates a new category, “compounding manufacturer,” which will be regulated by the FDA. Hospitals and health systems are considered traditional compounders in the legislation and will remain under the purview of state boards of pharmacy and other accrediting bodies.

Tell your Representative that the House should take a similar approach to the legislation and give the FDA the tools it needs to prevent another tragedy.

Your support today can go a long way in getting this important legislation passed!

July 22, 2013

Interprofessional Collaboration: ASHP’s Response to the AMA

Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

In June of this year, the American Medical Association (AMA) passed a resolution that caused concern among many of us.  At first glance, it’s no wonder why the policy gave us pause, as it states that “a pharmacist who makes inappropriate queries on a physician’s rationale behind a prescription, diagnosis, or treatment plan is interfering with the practice of medicine.”

While this statement seems to throw up a barrier to the good, productive collaborative relationships that best benefit patients–and that pharmacists, physicians, and patients have all grown to appreciate–it’s important to look at what was at its root: this nation’s drug abuse problem.  The AMA’s statement is a response to the efforts of some pharmacies in light of the federal government’s stepped-up enforcement to prevent diversion and better control the epidemic of prescription drug abuse.

Certain pharmacies, in response to enhanced scrutiny and enforcement efforts by the Drug Enforcement Administration, are calling and faxing to verify the legitimacy of every controlled substance prescription before filling. The burden this has placed on some physicians’ offices gave rise to this new AMA policy.

I recently wrote a letter to the CEO of the AMA that stressed the long history of collaboration that exists between pharmacists and physicians in hospitals, health systems, and ambulatory clinics. My letter confirmed that ASHP would be pleased to work with the AMA and other stakeholders to find solutions to the broader problem of prescription drug abuse, which ideally would include more effective communications and interprofessional collaboration among pharmacists, physicians, other health care providers, policymakers, and law enforcement.

The nature of today’s health care delivery system depends on professional collaboration to make sure our patients are getting the best health care possible.  Over the course of my 35-plus years in practice, and here at ASHP, I’ve seen firsthand how that collaboration has grown exponentially,  and is now widespread, not only in our nation’s hospitals and clinics, but with our community pharmacy partners.

And, indeed, we hear the same from our physician colleagues. In fact, Richard Pieters, M.D., the physician who wrote the draft for the AMA resolution, described his working relationship with pharmacists as “excellent” in an interview with Pharmacy Practice News. He added that “pharmacists are very valuable members of the team.”

Pieters, who is a radiation oncologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and president-elect of the Massachusetts Medical Society, went on to state that, as a physician who is board-certified in hospice and palliative medicine, he finds pharmacists to be “fantastic resources.”

With a strong commitment to getting to the right issues in the right ways, pharmacists and physicians can both be part of the solution to our nation’s epidemic of prescription drug abuse in a way that encourages the interprofessional collaboration that best serves our patients.

July 17, 2013

Novel Missouri MTM Program Benefits Patients, Pharmacists

DC Pro is a feature of the MO HealthNet Medicaid program.

DC Pro is a feature of the MO HealthNet Medicaid program.

A NEW FEATURE OF MISSOURI’S MEDICAID PROGRAM is drawing admiration from health care experts around the country for its ability to bring pharmacists and patients together.

The program in question—Direct Care Pro (DCPro)—provides pharmacists with a database of patients in their area who are eligible for medication therapy management (MTM) and other cognitive therapies.

Gloria Sachdev, Pharm.D., a clinical assistant professor, primary care, at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., and director-at-large of ASHP’s Executive Committee for the Section of Ambulatory Care Practitioners, is one of the program’s admirers.

​“I would love Indiana to one day have the IT infrastructure in place to provide MTM like Missouri does,” she said, calling DCPro “an amazing example of how to operationalize MTM services in a streamlined manner.”

Gloria Sachdev, Pharm.D.

Gloria Sachdev, Pharm.D.

Pharmacists under the Missouri program receive direct reimbursement as health care providers, and a variety of conditions are covered, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease, heart failure, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia.

“The number of covered conditions is constantly expanding,” according to Sandra Bollinger, Pharm.D., provider outreach coordinator with Xerox, which manages MO HealthNet. She added that only a handful of states allow pharmacists to bill directly to their Medicaid programs as health care providers.

Helping Patients During Care Transitions

The program is an excellent example of how pharmacists can help patients during transitions of care, according to Justine Coffey, JD, LLM, director of ASHP’s Section of Ambulatory Care Practitioners.

“It’s a great model because it ensures that patients receive the care they need once they leave the hospital and are back in the community setting,” Coffey said, noting that patients receive better care when pharmacists are involved in medication management decisions.

“This program provides both an opportunity for better patient care and new opportunities to advance ambulatory pharmacy practice.”

Opportunities for Intervention

Pharmacists who are registered with MO HealthNet can log into the DCPro system and view a list of all patients who are eligible for cognitive services. The information is based on gaps in Medicaid claims that would have been filed had the patient been keeping up with their care for a particular disease state.

Next, pharmacists select which patients they want to assist and then “reserve” an intervention (many patients are eligible for multiple interventions). They then contact patients and arrange face-to-face consultations. Interventions can take place in outpatient clinics, patients’ homes, or in areas of community pharmacies that are designated for patient care. Once reserved, an intervention must be completed within 30 days or the patient is released back into the database.

For example, consider an MO HealthNet patient who has diabetes, but has not had an A1C blood test for more than 90 days. The MO HealthNet system will detect that a claim for the test has not been filed.

Based on that care gap, the system automatically adds that patient’s name and flags the intervention for which the patient is overdue. A pharmacist seeing the information can provide the test as well as additional counseling.

During an intervention, DCPro guides the pharmacist through questions that must be answered before it allows users to move to the next topic. It also fills in progress notes and submits the billing automatically once an intervention is complete.

Reimbursement (which is based on the amount of time spent with the patient rather than the nature of the intervention) is calculated in 15-minute increments. Payment ranges from $10-$20 per 15-minute period with a one-hour maximum per intervention. There is no limit on the number of intervention hours a pharmacist can bill annually.

“Pharmacists who use the system don’t have to keep their own records regarding which patients are eligible. They can just log in to see a complete list of all eligible patients in their area,” said Dr. Bollinger. The system also handles all recordkeeping and billing.

Justin May, Pharm.D.

Justin May, Pharm.D.

Utilizing Program Results to Increase Pharmacist Reimbursement

Pharmacists at Red Cross Pharmacy’s 15 locations regularly check DCPro for any pending MTM and cognitive therapy claims, said Justin May, Pharm.D., director of pharmacy with the chain, based in Marshall, MO.

“Ideally, we use the system as part of our adherence program,” he explained. “A pharmacist takes a look at a patient’s medications five to seven days before the prescriptions are filled and identifies patients who require cognitive services. Then, they set up intervention times. When patients come in to pick up their prescriptions, we sit down with them to conduct the interventions for whatever health issues are indicated.”

Chuck Termini, B.S. Pharm., RPh, a hospital staff pharmacist and independent clinical pharmacist in Kansas City, MO, connects with many of his MO HealthNet patients through referrals from nursing homes and community pharmacies, who contract with him to provide cognitive services. But he also mines the database for additional interventions.

“I almost always find patients who need help,” Termini said, estimating that he interacts with about 60 MO HealthNet patients each month.

Although pharmacist enrollment in the system has been slow to catch on, Dr. Bollinger is optimistic that the numbers will grow as pharmacists learn of these new opportunities for patient intervention and care.

“My goal is to get every pharmacist in the state enrolled,” she said, adding that growing enrollment will help her make a case to state legislators to increase reimbursement rates. “It may take a little time, but I’m confident they will increase eventually.”

Dr. Bollinger also said that MO HealthNet has been able to demonstrate cost savings resulting from decreased emergency room visits and hospitalizations among patients who participated in the program.

“This is a huge opportunity for health-system pharmacists who can get past the idea that the business comes to them, because it doesn’t,” said Termini. “You have to be proactive in assisting patients.”

–By Steve Frandzel

           

July 15, 2013

West Penn Clinic Successfully Treating Underserved Patients

Pharmacists at West Penn are a key part of the transition-of-care team as indigent patients move from inpatient care to care at the Health and Wellness Clinic.

PITTSBURGH KNOWS A THING OR TWO about comebacks. The Rust Belt capital suffered big losses when the steel industry collapsed in the 1980s, but returned to prosperity with a diversified economy. The West Penn Hospital also faced its own budgetary crisis a few years ago, after peaking in patient volume in 2008.

In 2010, we were forced to significantly downsize and reduce patient care services due to the financial difficulties of our parent organization. After an acquisition and two years of rebuilding and revitalization, we have turned things around with the reopening of a transformed emergency department, an increase in patient beds, technology upgrades, and the biggest transformation yet: the opening of a “new concept” health and wellness clinic in downtown Pittsburgh.

The West Penn Hospital Health and Wellness Clinic, which opened in February 2013, helped us to re-establish our reputation as a cornerstone of medical care in Pittsburgh and the surrounding Bloomfield-Garfield community. Funded 100 percent by proceeds from the hospital’s 340B drug discount program, the clinic provides critical medical services to underinsured and otherwise underserved patients.

Jennifer Davis, Pharm.D.

Jennifer Davis, Pharm.D.

Since its inception, the pharmacy services department has been a driving force behind West Penn’s 340B program.  As the system director for outpatient pharmacy services, I’ve taken the lead in the overall operations of the new clinic. We run the clinic as efficiently as possible, saving time and resources by using existing space and personnel, including on-staff physicians. The funds generated by our 340B program pay for medications that patients might not otherwise be able to afford and for the cost of staffing the clinic.

As a 340B-covered entity, West Penn Hospital contracts with local pharmacies to fill prescriptions using inventory purchased by the hospital at the 340B price. Through this contract pharmacy network, we provide discounted medications to uninsured patients and generate much-needed supplemental revenue from prescriptions covered by insurance.  The revenue, in turn, is used to cover the cost of the downtown Health and Wellness Clinic as well as costs associated with other uncompensated care.

Clinic Grows, Hospital Readmission Shrinks

Physicians at the clinic see uninsured and underserved patients weekly, and we expect to see more patients as word spreads. With funding generated by the 340B program, we help patients offset the costs of their medications. They literally benefit twice from the same 340B savings—patients now have increased access to care and their prescription costs are lower.

As with most hospitals today, readmission is a hot topic at West Penn. Pharmacists at the clinic help keep patients from using the hospital’s emergency department by providing disease management, medicine adjustments, and lab monitoring services. In addition, we receive prescription compliance data from our 340B program administrator to help clinicians monitor the patients who use the program. In February alone, the clinic saw 52 patients. We were also able to hire a full-time receptionist. By year’s end, the clinic hopes to see 800 patients.

Transitioning to Better Care

At the clinic, we are strong advocates for the “transition of care” program, which helps patients use the wellness clinic and Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) Apothecary (one of the hospital’s 340B contract pharmacies) and other local contract pharmacies. This program helps to ensure the coordination and continuity of care as patients transfer between different locations or different levels of care within the same location.

Another service we offer at the clinic is bedside medication counseling at discharge and seeing these patients at the clinic for medication management. AGH Apothecary fills prescriptions as needed. Pharmacists also provide post- hospitalization follow-up for patients who are unable to see their regular doctor.

Key Partners in Setting up the Clinic

With the health and wellness clinic, we have made the best possible use of the hospital’s 340B savings. Starting the clinic, however, took planning, resourcefulness, hard work, and a partnership with a contact pharmacy administrator, Wellpartner, to manage the program.

Wellpartner has expertise in creating custom 340B retail pharmacy networks that include both chains and independents.  Our network is well balanced with the right geographical coverage, which helps increase 340B program utilization.

The hospital first implemented its 340B contract pharmacy program in 2011, after a local pharmacist noted that uninsured and underinsured patients from the hospital’s Joslin Diabetes Center could no longer pay for their medications. Currently, West Penn’s 340B program uses 29 contract pharmacies, filling more than 8,800 prescriptions in 2012.

I also credit the hospital’s C-suite for helping to get the clinic started. They were huge champions for us, and I believe that with strong C-suite support any hospital can implement such a program.

The economy has caused plenty of setbacks for us and for people in need throughout our service area.  But the West Penn Hospital Health and Wellness Clinic proves that with hard work and ingenuity, positive results are possible, even in the worst of times.

–By Jennifer Davis, Pharm.D., Director of Outpatient Pharmacy Services, West Penn Health System, Pittsburgh

 

 

 

July 1, 2013

Oklahoma Community Recovers Through Pharmacists’ Help

Filed under: Current Issue,Feature Stories — Tags: , , , , , , , — Kathy Biesecker @ 3:38 pm
Barbara Poe takes a break in the medication area of the Heart to Heart International's mobile medication unit. Photo courtesy of Nina Morris.

Barbara Poe takes a break in the medication area of the Heart to Heart International’s mobile medication unit. Photo courtesy of Nina Morris.

BARBARA POE NO LONGER WORKS as the lead pharmacist at 45-bed Moore Medical Center in Oklahoma. A tornado destroyed the building on May 20. But in the days that followed, the Norman Regional Health System employee volunteered at one of the mobile medical units in Moore and scheduled other volunteer pharmacy personnel to assist.

The response to her two e-mails requesting volunteers to work six-hour shifts was overwhelming, Poe said. So was the flatbed truck with 18 pallets of donations from a small hospital in Nebraska where the pharmacy director decided to take action.

“We are so grateful for all of the people who supported us,” Poe said. “I mean it is just truly heartwarming.”

A Group Effort

Kansas-based Heart to Heart International, a relief organization, had its mobile medical unit in Moore by 1 a.m. on May 21, Poe said.

One of the organization’s personnel contacted Norman Regional for pharmaceuticals, Poe said. By the midday of May 23, she and Darin Smith, the assistant director for pharmacy services and performance improvement, had delivered albuterol inhalers, ceftriaxone injection, and other pharmaceutical items. She had also ordered additional pharmaceuticals for a return trip the next day.

Poe, after that first visit to the mobile medical unit, said she “may ultimately end up doing some volunteer work.”

What caught her interest in the mobile medical unit was a small area at one end. It had an under-the-counter refrigerator and shelves with bins of medications. She said a pharmacist from a local community pharmacy happened to be onsite.

Poe said the unit’s volunteers “jumped” at the idea of her arranging to have a pharmacist onsite for all the hours the medical clinic operates.

With that approval, Poe said later, she e-mailed the president of the Oklahoma Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the executive director of the Oklahoma Pharmacists Association “just asking for volunteers.” Her intent was to have two six-hour shifts per day—8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 2 to 8 p.m.—with each shift staffed by two pharmacists or a pharmacist and a pharmacy technician.

She estimated that 50–60 pharmacists from all over the state volunteered to work at least one shift.

A Personal Crusade

One of those volunteers was Chelsea Church, the 2010–11 president of the Oklahoma Society and now the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy’s pharmacist compliance officer for the southwestern region.

“It was personal,” Church said of her volunteer work on May 30.

She and her husband formerly lived in Moore and her husband still works there. Church said a former house of theirs was severely damaged by the May 20 tornado.

So when Smith e-mailed on the morning of May 30 asking if she could fill in for someone who had canceled, Church said, she took a vacation day to help out.

Church said she dispensed about 10 prescription medications—mostly antiinfectives for wounds and corticosteroids for rashes—and filled syringes with tetanus vaccine.

When no pharmacist was present in the mobile medical unit, she learned, patients received prescriptions to take to a community pharmacy.

The mobile medical unit stocked maintenance medications, such as antidepressants, antihypertensive agents, and diabetes treatments, for people who had lost their supplies in the disaster, Church said.

But most of the patients, she said, actually were out-of-the-area people who had come to Moore to help clear the debris. They came to the mobile medical unit after stepping on rusty nails or otherwise hurting themselves while helping others.

Poe estimated that Norman Regional Hospital had sent at least 1000 doses, perhaps 1500, of tetanus vaccine to the mobile medical unit in the first 10 days after its arrival.

“I know the hospital has been hit financially,” she said, “but whatever they’ve needed to shore up this [mobile medical] clinic, the hospital has just said, ‘Go do it.’”

Poe said one pharmacist who showed up unexpectedly at the mobile medical unit wanted to help even though there was no room for a third pharmacist.

This pharmacist, Poe said, asked about administering vaccines in the field and walked to the building of the nearby county health department, but she learned that it lacked tetanus vaccine.

“So, we supplied 150 doses of tetanus vaccine for her to go out into the field with one of the teams that [the health department] was sending out,” Poe said.

Feeling Compelled to Help

Another unexpected arrival, she said, was the pallets of donations that a flatbed truck delivered to Norman Regional Hospital.

Rachel Forster, pharmacy director at 25-bed Sidney Regional Medical Center in Nebraska, said The Weather Channel’s footage on Moore after the tornado struck her emotionally.

“I just felt compelled that we had to do something to help,” she said.

It was the everyday person in Moore, Forster said, for whom she felt compassion. “What do you do when everything you have is gone?”

Fortunately for her, she said, the pharmacy had recently expanded to “24-7-365” service through the hiring of direct employees. There were now two day-shift pharmacists, two night-shift pharmacists, and a full-time pharmacy technician in addition to Forster.

On obtaining approvals from her supervisor, chief financial officer, and chief operating officer and e-mailing Poe and Smith, Forster said she made appeals for donations of tangibles on the radio and in the local newspaper.

Forster said she used her local connections in the community of roughly 6000 to arrange the logistics. Sidney-based Adams Industries Inc. agreed to provide a flatbed truck and driver. A local farm implements company, 21st Century Equipment Inc., donated 18 pallets, shrink-wrap, and a location to store the donations.

“We kind of challenged the community to make it a success,” she said. “And everybody here wanted to do something.”

Forster said the first donation was toys from a Sidney Regional employee’s five-year-old granddaughter who was told that the images of Moore on television meant the community’s children no longer had toys of their own.

The donations, Forster said, ran the gamut of things that Sidney residents thought they would need quickly if they lost their home.

Poe, when interviewed by happenstance several hours after the arrival of the truck from Sidney, said “I about passed out.” She had imagined four or five boxes that could fit in the SUV that is substituting for her own, which was destroyed in the tornado while in the parking lot at Moore Medical Center.

Heart to Heart’s mobile medical unit left Moore on June 2, said Dan Weinbaum, director of communications. The county health department at that time took over operations from the relief organization whose personnel and volunteers, he said, function as “early responders.”

As of May 30, according to Smith, Norman Regional’s pharmacy personnel had donated $1000 and the pharmacy had received $500 from the Oklahoma Society of Health-System Pharmacists and $1800 from elsewhere to cover the costs of medications in the relief effort in Moore.

—By Cheryl A. Thompson

Editor’s Note: This article, which was originally published in the online version of the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, is reprinted with permission.

Moving Closer to Achieving Our Vision

Abramowitz-PREFERRED-Featured

Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

In the last 20 years, the ASHP House of Delegates has debated and passed important proposals like support for the entry-level Pharm.D., universal health insurance, mandatory reporting of medication errors and “just culture,” collaborative practice, and the implementation of health information technology.

In recent years, the ASHP House of Delegates has approved policies that set future goals for residency training for all practitioners in direct patient care roles; defined the role of pharmacist prescribing in interprofessional patient care; called on federal officials to take action on compounding, drug shortages, REMS, and meaningful use standards; and pushed for standardized education, certification, registration, and licensure requirements for pharmacy technicians.

These policies touch every facet of pharmacy practice and have a profound impact on medication use in this country. ASHP’s professional policies offer a vision for the future of the profession in which pharmacists are essential members of every health care team and where medication use is optimal, safe and effective for all people, all of the time.

Last month, the ASHP House of Delegates approved more than 20 new professional policies during its session at the 2013 Summer Meeting in Minneapolis. Along with passing measures that support training in team-based patient care for student pharmacists and residents and the reclassification of hydrocodone combination products under the Controlled Substances Act, delegates also took strong positions on compounding safely and achieving provider status for pharmacists.

These actions are emblematic of the leadership that ASHP has taken on key medication-use issues throughout its history. ASHP’s professional policies provide a solid foundation for the Society to pursue transformative solutions to the issues that affect our ability to care for our patients.

In particular, the newly approved policies on compounding by health care professionals and pharmacist recognition as health care providers highlight this principle.

Compounding

ASHP is actively engaged in federal efforts to close gaps in the regulatory oversight of pharmaceutical compounding activities. We’ve worked closely with members of Congress and congressional staff on legislation that we expect the Senate to vote on this month; namely, the Pharmaceutical Quality, Security, and Accountability Act. While this legislation addresses federal authority, our new policy focuses on the laws and regulations that govern traditional compounding that occurs in hospitals, clinics, and other areas within health systems. It advocates for the adoption of applicable standards of the United States Pharmacopeia by state legislatures and boards of pharmacy.

The laws and regulations governing compounding vary from state to state. It is essential for the safety of all patients that all pharmacies that compound medications, regardless of the setting, adhere to the very highest standards. A uniform standard will help to ensure that the medications our patients receive are safe and that they are not harmed by agents that are intended to help them.

Pharmacist Recognition as a Health Care Provider

Pharmacists are health care providers. You demonstrate that each day. But we have some work to do to fix antiquated federal and state laws that place unnecessary limits on patients having access to the care we provide.

Our new policy on pharmacist recognition as a health care provider makes a strong case for changing the status quo. It points to the pharmacist’s role as a medication expert who provides safe, accessible, high-quality, cost-effective care. The policy also highlights that, as health care providers, pharmacists improve access to patient care and bridge existing gaps in care.

Achieving recognition as providers for pharmacists is ASHP’s top advocacy priority. We are devoting substantial time and energy with our partner pharmacy organizations to push for changes in the Social Security Act that will recognize the valuable role we play in the health care system.

Please take a look at the summaries of these policies below, and review the other professional policies that were recently finalized by the ASHP House of Delegates:

Pharmacist Recognition as a Health Care Provider

To advocate for changes in federal (e.g., Social Security Act), state, and third-party payment programs to define pharmacists as health care providers; further, to affirm that pharmacists, as medication-use experts, provide safe, accessible, high-quality care that is cost effective, resulting in improved patient outcomes; further, to recognize that pharmacists, as health care providers, improve access to patient care and bridge existing gaps in health care; further, to collaborate with key stakeholders to describe the covered direct patient-care services provided by pharmacists; further, to pursue a standard mechanism for compensating pharmacists who provide these services.

Compounding by Health Professionals

To advocate that state laws and regulations that govern compounding by health professionals adopt the applicable standards of the United States Pharmacopeia.

___________________________

I also encourage you to spend some time thinking about what you envision for the future of practice and what is needed to bring us closer to that goal. Share your thoughts with me in the comments section of this column or by sending an email to ceo@ashp.org. Members serve as the catalyst for our policy initiatives. Your input can help bring us even closer to achieving the vision we have for patient care.

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