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A Year to Remember

Jan 21, 2010

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Lynnae M. Mahaney, M.B.A., FASHP

AS WE GREET THE NEW YEAR, I have to admit that, in some ways, I am glad that 2009 is behind us. It was a year of unprecedented economic challenges. We watched as Congress struggled with the critical issue of health care reform. And many of us who work in emergency departments (EDs) dealt with the ongoing challenge of an H1N1 pandemic. This first issue of 2010 reflects some of these challenges and sheds light on what may be coming around the corner. It also shows how far we have come as a profession and the many ways in which we contribute to quality patient care.

Our cover story, on page 8, is about how health care reform may affect hospital pharmacists, and it is eye-opening and full of hope. ASHP has advocated for many years that pharmacists need to be recognized as health care providers. Although the bill that passed the House in November doesn’t explicitly allow for that designation, it does open the door for pharmacists to demonstrate their medication management expertise as part of innovative care models such as “medical homes.” As the saying goes, although we are just at the “beginning of the beginning,” this is very good news.

As you will see on page 12, pharmacists around the country are approaching the pandemic of H1N1 in new and novel ways, finding opportunities for patient counseling, education, and emergency preparedness. For example, after a change in a New York state law allowed pharmacists to administer influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, the pharmacy department at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx stepped up to the plate, initiating a series of immunization training programs. Conducted by faculty members from Touro College of Pharmacy in Harlem, the programs have certified more than 60 pharmacists since the fall.

Quality health care is a team affair, and at the Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast, in Concord, North Carolina, a team of pharmacists is changing how infectious disease cases are handled in the ED. Take a look on page 17 to see how pharmacists are reducing hospital re-admissions caused by infection.

As you can see here, this issue of ASHP InterSections is full of stories about pharmacists who are making a difference. We hope you enjoy it! Drop me a line at prez@ashp.org or contact me on the new ASHP Connect Blog, and let me know what you think.

Lynnae M. Mahaney, M.B.A., FASHP

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