ASHP InterSections ASHP InterSections

August 27, 2019

Ohio ASHP Members Successfully Advocate for Provider Status

Jackie Boyle, M.S., M.B.A., BCACP, BCPS

ON APRIL 5, 2019, AN OHIO LAW went into effect that will help pharmacists practice at the top of their license by officially recognizing them as providers. This groundbreaking legislation occurred thanks to the dedication and persistence of pharmacists across the state, including ASHP members Jackie Boyle, Keith D. Posendek, and Mary Ann R. Dzurec.

Under S.B. 265, which was signed by Governor John Kasich on January 4, 2019, pharmacists are allowed to bill public and private insurance companies directly for the services they provide to patients. “As a result of having provider status and the ability to bill directly for their services, pharmacists will be able to create new and innovate ways of delivering patient care,” said Jackie Boyle, M.S., M.B.A., BCACP, BCPS, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Northeast Ohio Medical University. She is also the Immediate Past President of the Ohio Society of Health-System Pharmacists (OSHP). “Several healthcare models already exist—the traditional hospital model, the clinic model, and the community pharmacy model,” Boyle explained. “As we see more and more technology moving into healthcare like telehealth and artificial intelligence, we can create care models that are more convenient for patients.”

A Passion for Advocacy
Boyle, an ASHP member since 2008, has always been interested in advocacy. She completed an elective residency experience during her PGY2 with the ASHP Government Relations Division in 2014. During that time, Boyle had the opportunity to review several new pieces of legislation that were being introduced, including one concerning biosimilars. She also visited Capitol Hill to talk with legislators about provider status and the role of the pharmacist on the healthcare team—all of which fueled her passion for advocating on behalf of her colleagues and profession.

Keith D. Posendek, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCGP

Since cultivating this interest, Boyle has become a voice for pharmacy in Ohio. When the opportunity arose to advocate for provider status for pharmacists, she jumped at it. Boyle testified in front of the Ohio Senate in support of S.B. 265, where she stressed the importance of provider status. “I explained that this bill is critically important to the public health of the state. It expands pharmacists’ ability to work in direct patient care roles and use their expertise to achieve positive health outcomes,” Boyle said. “This change would increase patient access to pharmacist-provided care.”

Boyle included several anecdotes about how pharmacists can impact patient care in her testimony. For example, she explained how one of her patients recovering from a heart attack was prescribed a medication that influenced his heart rate. Boyle identified a more appropriate medication. A few years later, the patient came back to tell her about the progress he had made and thanked her for changing his life.

A Team Effort
Although Boyle was instrumental in pushing S.B. 265 forward, she stressed that getting the law passed was very much a team effort. Many pharmacists in Ohio, including ASHP members, contributed to the cause.

Keith D. Posendek, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCGP, Clinical Pharmacist Specialist at Adena Regional Medical Center in Chillicothe, participated in a letter-writing campaign, including emails and handwritten notes, in support of S.B. 265. He also called politicians’ offices. Although he didn’t speak to legislators directly, he talked to staff members about the services pharmacists provide.

Mary Ann R. Dzurec, Pharm.D., BCACP

Dr. Posendek, who has been an ASHP member since 2015, noted that another valuable part of his advocacy was to spread the word about S.B. 265 to other pharmacists. He urged his pharmacy colleagues to remind lawmakers that pharmacists make vital contributions to the community and improve the health of the constituents politicians represent.

“Anything helps, whether it’s writing to your politician, calling them, visiting them, or going to local political action committee meetings,” Dr. Posendek said. “It’s nice to remind [your local lawmakers] that you are a constituent and part of their community. Tell them that you are advocating for an issue because you’re a pharmacist and also because you’re part of the community and can make a difference.”

A Seat at the Table
Mary Ann R. Dzurec, Pharm.D., BCACP, Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Specialist at MetroHealth, a safety net health system providing inpatient and outpatient care to the underserved in Cleveland, also lobbied legislators by sending letters encouraging them to support S.B. 265.

Dr. Dzurec, who has been an ASHP member throughout her nearly 35-year career, precepts a longitudinal advocacy rotation for pharmacy residents at MetroHealth. Throughout the year-long rotation, she teaches the residents about the importance of working with state lobbyists and directly reaching out to legislators. Dr. Dzurec and the residents review pending legislation and Ohio Board rule proposals, and provide formal written comments.

She believes that pharmacists are well-equipped to create a pathway to better healthcare for patients. “My advice to pharmacists and pharmacy students is to take a leadership role in promoting the pharmacist’s role in a health care setting. You’ll find a great deal of satisfaction in your work, and your patients will appreciate you for it,” said Dr. Dzurec.

 

By Kenya McCullum

 

March 17, 2017

Residency Match Day 2017

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

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL WHO MATCHED during Phase I of the residency Match! If you didn’t match in the first round, please plan to participate in Phase II, as there are still a number of unfilled positions at excellent programs all across the country.

This year’s Match was another remarkable success. There were 5,752 applicants this year for 4,592 residency positions. Of those total positions, 3,750 are now filled with the remainder to be filled in Phase II of the Match. It should be noted that over the last five years residency positions have increased by 1,594.

It is wonderful to see such incredible interest in residency training and how the profession is responding to the increased demand by adding new positions. Residency training is an opportunity for pharmacists to further distinguish themselves as the medication experts on the patient care team, and expand their role in overall patient care.

ASHP, under the leadership of former CEO Dr. Joseph A. Oddis, created the concept of residency training and began accrediting programs 55 years ago. ASHP’s leadership in this area planted the seed for the formation of clinical pharmacy practice. Today, residency training and clinical pharmacy are more important than ever, and patients everywhere are benefiting from these important advances in pharmacy practice.

PGY2 ambulatory care residencies have experienced dramatic growth in recent years. Two years ago, there were 83 residency programs in ambulatory care; today there are 137 programs. Compared to last year, PGY2 residency programs in the areas of emergency medicine, infectious disease, and psychiatric care have also expanded rapidly.

The significant increase in the number of PGY2 residencies indicates that the market is demanding highly trained pharmacists for specialty areas of practice. In addition, the rising support for provider status at the state and national levels, as well as other changes to the healthcare landscape, is creating a demand for more residency programs.

Participating in residency programs is a win-win for you, your patients, and for the profession. I know that all of you as new PGY1 and PGY2 residents will rise up to meet the many challenges of completing a residency, and the experience will prepare you to practice at a higher level as a vital member of an interprofessional team.

Know that regardless of where you practice — whether in an ambulatory clinic, hospital, or other patient care setting — ASHP is your professional home as a patient care provider. Please plan to continue to read and contribute to AJHP Residents Edition. ASHP is the only organization with this exceptional peer-reviewed platform for pharmacy residents, and its success is fully attributed to you and the great work you will be doing as a resident. During your residency, keep up with best practices in research by viewing the ASHP Foundation’s The Essentials of Practice-Based Research. Please also make sure to stay involved in the ASHP New Practitioners Forum, which provides a multitude of resources and opportunities, including in-depth information about preparing for career transitions.

Again, congratulations to all of you, and good luck in your residency. I look forward to seeing you at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition in Orlando in December!

Sincerely,

Paul

March 1, 2017

Advocating for Pharmacists

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

KASEY THOMPSON, ASHP’s Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President for Policy, Planning and Communications, represented ASHP among leaders of the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition (PAPCC) this morning in a highly impactful fundraising breakfast for Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX). Dr. Burgess serves as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Health of the highly influential House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is one of the House committees considering H.R. 592, the Pharmacists in Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act. As Chairman, Dr. Burgess plays a key role in setting the subcommittee’s agenda and ultimately determining whether legislation moves out to the full committee.

Dr. Thompson shared with Congressmen Burgess the many important clinical pharmacy services that pharmacists provide in various settings, including ambulatory clinics and throughout all care transitions. He emphasized the role that ASHP members play as direct patient care providers who optimize therapy as key members of interprofessional teams. Further, he stressed to Dr. Burgess how those vital pharmacist patient care services improve therapeutic outcomes and decrease healthcare costs.

The goal for this event was to advance efforts to pass provider status legislation in 2017. Although this is but one of many things ASHP and the PAPCC are doing to move this important legislation, we believe it was a great step in the right direction. Further, we are pleased to have had a productive discussion with such an influential member of Congress, and one who is a physician by training. Dr. Burgess did not express any opposition to our legislation and is eager to continue the discussion with members of the PAPCC about the benefits of H.R. 592. Rest assured that ASHP and the PAPCC will continue speaking with Dr. Burgess, other members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and their colleagues in the Senate as we look to move H.R. 592 and S. 109 in 2017.

Thanks so much for everything you do for your patients and for being a member of ASHP.

Sincerely,

Paul

November 16, 2016

ASHP’s Role with the New Congress and Administration

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

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

AS ANOTHER ELECTION SEASON comes to a close and we look ahead to the new administration and the 115th Congress in 2017, ASHP is again positioning itself as a credible resource to policymakers on issues impacting the profession of pharmacy and public health. While elections create change among those in government, ASHP’s public policy priorities remain the same: advancing provider status legislation, protecting the 340B program, and working with both sides of the aisle and with the administration to address the growing problem of skyrocketing drug prices and their impact on our patients and the healthcare system.

Over the last few years ASHP has increased its presence in Washington by spearheading legislative efforts aimed at curbing drug shortages and ensuring safer compounding practices. These are issues that impact all Americans regardless of political affiliation, and ASHP input was instrumental in developing policy solutions.

The new landscape on Capitol Hill and at the White House is an opportunity for ASHP to forge new partnerships, educate new stakeholders, and highlight ASHP’s expertise in public health issues. Healthcare legislation will once again be back on the agenda, and issues related to Medicare and Medicaid are likely to be in play. As we look ahead to advancing provider status, 2017 may provide legislative vehicles that could include pharmacists as providers in the Medicare program.

ASHP remains committed to working with the new administration and the new Congress to address our public policy goals. Currently we are planning outreach efforts to the Trump transition team and will begin educating the freshman congressional class on how ASHP members improve the health and wellness of their patients by ensuring safe and effective medication use and advancing healthcare. Although change in Washington is inevitable, ASHP stands firm on its commitment to its members and the public at large.

We look forward to continuing to engage you and represent your professional interests in 2017 and beyond. Thanks so much for being a member of ASHP, and for everything you do for your patients.

Sincerely,
Paul

August 25, 2015

Creating an Army of Provider Status Advocates: One Member’s Story

Felicity Homsted, Pharm.D., BCPS

Felicity Homsted, Pharm.D., BCPS

AN UNEXPECTED EMAIL REQUEST this past June launched Felicity Homsted, Pharm.D., BCPS, on an unanticipated mission: to muster the support of Maine legislators for the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act.

If signed into law, the bill, now before congressional committees in the House and Senate, would grant pharmacists provider status in medically underserved areas and make them eligible for reimbursement under Medicare Part B.

“I didn’t hesitate. I just said, ‘Yes!’ and leveraged all of the relationships I’ve built over the years to get more people to push for provider status,” said Dr. Homsted, director of pharmacy at Penobscot Community Health Care in Bangor, Maine.

By the end of the day, she had called or emailed colleagues and administrators at more than a dozen health centers, health advocacy groups, and insurers; handwritten letters to Maine’s four-person congressional delegation; and quickly persuaded the CEO and CMO of her facility to do the same.

Within a week, Dr. Homsted had reached out to directors of pharmacy representing all of the health systems in the state. By the end of the second week, she added three presentations, a television interview, and more emails and calls. The entire PCHC pharmacy staff joined the efforts with technicians, pharmacists and residents all voicing their support. In under a month, she had confirmed that at least 50 support letters from all across the state had gone out to the Maine congressional delegation.

The results of her team’s hard work followed quickly. On July 7, Sen. Susan Collins signed on as a cosponsor of the Senate version of the bill S. 314. Sen. Angus King responded with a declaration of support for the bill.

Persistence Pays Off

The initial email appeal that Dr. Homsted received came from Joseph Hill, director of ASHP’s Government Relations Division. He knows he got far more than he bargained for.

“Felicity has been a pacesetter for the kinds of outreach we need from members to help us drive support for provider status,” said Hill. “The thing I find most inspiring about her advocacy is the persistence she demonstrated in reaching out to people and organizations. Felicity sets the gold standard for grass roots activity. If she can inspire others to do half of what she does, we will definitely get these bills across the finish line.”

Dr. Homsted tailored her pitch for every person she coaxed toward advocacy. “If I had just asked them, ‘Will you support us?’ many people – even many pharmacists wouldn’t understand why this is such a big deal,” she said. “But when I explain how provider status will help improve patient care and reduce healthcare costs on the individual level for their patients or organization, people really begin to understand the value of the legislation.”

Issues that matter-edits

Left, Robert Picone, host of the weekly public television show “Issues that Matter,” invited Dr. Homsted (right) to enlighten his viewers about provider status.

In the midst of Dr. Homsted’s advocacy blitz, another unexpected overture led to the most memorable moments of her campaign. Robert Picone, a board member of the Greater New England Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation and host of the weekly public television showIssues that Matter,” invited her as a guest on the program to enlighten viewers about provider status.

ASHP staff prepared Dr. Homsted for the interview by coaching her to ignore the cameras and take the time to consider each answer. They also recommended that she focus on a few simple, consistent messages and circle back to them at every opportunity; keep her answers succinct so that viewers understand what is at stake; and remember a few on-camera tips, including smiling slightly and avoiding clothing with patterns.

After the show appeared on YouTube, Dr. Homsted said she was amazed by how many people got in touch with her to find out what they could do to help. The most poignant response came from a good friend who texted, “I’ve never really understood what you do until I watched the show. Now I know how important your job is, and I want to thank you for all the things you’re doing to make healthcare better.”

Educating the Public about Pharmacists’ Roles

According to Dr. Homsted, consumers and legislators don’t fully understand the contemporary roles of pharmacists. “People are just beginning to appreciate that we add far more to the healthcare equation than just counting pills,” she noted, adding that educating the public as well as pharmacists about what provider status means is critical for passage of the legislation.

Dr. Homsted (second from far right) is supported in her provider status outreach efforts by her pharmacy residents and other members of her team at Penobscot Community Health Care in Bangor, Maine.

Dr. Homsted (second from far right) is supported in her provider status outreach efforts by her pharmacy residents, members of the Penobscot Community Health Care C-suite, and other members of her pharmacy team.

“Pharmacist provider status goes well beyond reimbursement; it is a mechanism to expedite pharmacist integration into care teams, ultimately improving care value, quality, safety and most importantly patient health.”

Dr. Homsted and her team’s advocacy efforts continue. She recently began enlisting universities and recruiting pharmacy students and residents (within and beyond Maine) to the ranks of active supporters.

“We want to create a small army of pharmacists who can go out and inform people about the importance of provider status,” she said. “I tell them to start with people they know well and with whom they can have an immediate impact, and then let those successes fuel more ambitious targets. Our goal is to get the entire Maine delegation to cosponsor the legislation. Anything else is unacceptable.”

–By Steve Frandzel

Editor’s Note: Want to find out how to support ASHP’s provider status efforts in your state? Check out our advocacy toolkit with a variety of activities to get you started!

 

 

 

 

June 9, 2015

Building Bridges to Pharmacy’s Future: Optimizing Patient Outcomes

John A. Armitstead, M.S., R.Ph., FASHP

John A. Armitstead, M.S., R.Ph., FASHP

Editor’s Note: The following inaugural address was given by new ASHP President John A. Armitstead, M.S., R.Ph., FASHP, at ASHP’s Summer Meetings in Denver, June 9, 2015. Armitstead is System Director of Pharmacy, Lee Memorial Health System, Fort Myers and Cape Coral, Fla. The address will also be published in the August 15th edition of AJHP.

 

Good morning!

To say it is an honor to serve as your president is an understatement. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve our patients, our profession, and our society.

Ever since my introduction to ASHP during my college years at Ohio Northern and my ongoing training at Ohio State, I have been intrigued and invigorated by this great professional society. Its influence on my career has been remarkable. ASHP has opened my heart and my mind to opportunity and action. The examples set by many of our profession’s finest leaders have created pathways and bridges to grow professionally and realize dreams.

I have many individuals to thank, starting with my wife, life partner and best friend—also a pharmacist—Ima Darling Armitstead. Thank you for your love, support, and guidance. You have given me infinite refills on our prescription for life.

I want to thank my children Jaclyn and Jonathan; my parents, Austin and Bianca; my sister Nancy, brother Alan, and my parents-in-love, Frank and Pat. My inner circle of love also includes Armitsteads, Haydens, and, of course, the Darling sisters. The support of my family, from birth and through marriage, from student to practitioner and leader, has been a bedrock of joy for me.

As I was considering what I wanted to speak about today, I discovered an insightful poem called “The Bridge Builder.” In it, an elderly man crosses a lazy stream and then turns around to construct a bridge to provide others with safe passage. When the man is asked why he built a bridge when he had already safely crossed the wide chasm, this is what he said:

 

The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come.”
He said, “There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
That chasm that has been naught for me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him.”

As I reflect on the profession of pharmacy, and specifically pharmacy in health systems, I am thankful for the past leaders—bridge builders for all of us—who have created a vision, sought consensus, and made the act of patient care delivered by pharmacists what it is today.

These leaders have advanced our profession and patient care by publishing, presenting, and developing practice guidelines and policies. They have advocated for pharmacy and for patients. They have precepted, networked, and mentored the next generation. They have built the bridges that we easily cross today.

In my career of 35 years, many bridge builders have paved the way for me. I especially want to thank Ivey, Latiolais, Sherrin, Parker, Hunt, Schneider, Silvester, Colgan, Manasse, Abramowitz, Zellmer, Eckel, Rough, Smith, Jolowsky, Hynniman, Theilke, Ashby, Lazarus, White, Godwin, Anderson, Zilz; and my Florida colleagues and dear friends, McAllister and Rapp.

Thanks also to my colleagues throughout the years at some of the nation’s finest healthcare institutions, including the U.S. Public Health Service, Riverside Methodist Hospitals, Ohio State University Hospitals, University of Cincinnati Hospital, University of Kentucky Healthcare, and my present team at Lee Memorial Health System.

These institutions and their staff have allowed me to apprentice and engineer improved patient care outcomes.

Bridges for Our Patients

Verrazano -1

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge under construction, c. 1960. Image courtesy of Barton Silverman/The New York Times

When I was a child living in New York City, I watched the building of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge connecting Staten Island to Brooklyn. Before the bridge was built, you could only cross the choppy waters of the Hudson River by ferry. There was a gap called “The Narrows”; the gateway to New York Harbor, a chasm of two miles created 18,000 years ago at the end of the ice age. When the Verrazano was completed in 1964, it connected these lands to development, commerce, expansion and growth. The chasm was bridged.

Today, I want to talk to you about the importance of bridging the gaps in continuity of care… in our relationships with patients and peers… and in the work that ASHP is doing every day to further our professional aspirations and goals.

We have come so far on the road to improved patient outcomes and enhanced opportunities for pharmacists as key members of the healthcare team. We must continue to build bridges for patients in transitions of care and in ambulatory care. We must forge ahead and continue to redefine our profession, strengthen our workforce, and nurture and maintain our relationships and connections.

Great examples abound of how pharmacists are moving into direct patient care in ambulatory settings. At Avera Behavioral Health Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., pharmacists have transitioned to clinical services and patient-specific care by focusing on medication reconciliation, patient education, targeted medication therapy protocols and managing drug-induced adverse effects in their mental health patients.

At Palomar Health in Escondido, Ca., pharmacists are working throughout the continuum of care by developing an effective transitions-of-care program that emphasizes medication safety and individual patient outcomes. They accomplish this through a community-based transitions program.

Effective transitions from hospital to home or from a community setting into the hospital are key areas in which pharmacists can make a difference. Pharmacists can bring value in both guarding against newly emerging medication-related problems and the potential for an escalation of adverse conditions as patients transition to home settings.

Care transitions with a focus on medication management are essential to improve health outcomes. The distinct medication expert on the multidisciplinary team is the pharmacist. In concert with physicians, nurses, and others who contribute to the overall care of patients, pharmacists can develop care plans that translate into reduced readmissions and improved outcomes.

Results of ASHP’s recent National Survey show that practice is evolving and that pharmacists are becoming more and more involved in transitions of care.

Although this progress has been good, pharmacists must do better, and we must do it much quicker. Incremental change will no longer suffice.

Over 60 percent of responding health systems task pharmacists or pharmacy technicians with taking medication histories at admission. And over 60 percent have pharmacists conduct discharge medication counseling, and discharge planning.

Although this progress has been good, pharmacists must do better and we must do it much quicker. Incremental change will no longer suffice.

We need to take responsibility for our patient’s medication education and their ongoing care. We must begin to care about the whole life of the patient rather than just the episodic care we provide at different points in the care process. It is time to accelerate our incremental efforts into monumental success for our patients.

We must ensure continuity of care during patient transitions between care settings, and we must manage care effectively.

We must be the key provider following up on drug-related problems, and we must effectively conduct medication education to promote patient self-care.

Let me give you a personal example of what I’m talking about. Recently, I had a patient who had gone home after surgery and was prescribed an analgesic. Because my contact information is included on the discharge patient education information, the patient called me.

His question? Not something related to pain control or medication interactions. He wanted to know why he was hadn’t had a bowel movement in over three days. Now, that may seem like a low-level concern for a pharmacist with years of clinical experience and training. But, for this patient, constipation was the driving concern. His issue was resolved after daily consultation with his pharmacist… three, four, and five days post discharge.

If you’re sitting there wondering if something this mundane is important to the whole life of your patient, I’m here to say emphatically, “yes.” We have to be ready to manage everything related to our patients’ medication regimens beyond their hospitalization.

Bridges to Ambulatory Care and Primary Care

As you can see, bridges are not simply a metaphor to me. They are connections that link one place to another. They stand as a testament to our ingenuity. This pharmacist-to-be was born and raised in New York City, and there certainly is no more iconic bridge than the Brooklyn Bridge. Completed in 1883, it was truly a magnificent feat of engineering, a wonder of the world. It stands strong today.

Brooklyn bridge-1

The Brooklyn Bridge under construction, circa 1880. Picture courtesy of Wikipedia.

Pharmacy practice is synonymous with bridge building. Today, we have new opportunities to step into ambulatory and primary care settings, working on healthcare teams in accountable care organizations, physician’s offices, hospital outpatient clinics & pharmacies, patient-centered medical homes, and community healthcare centers.

Indeed, one of the most exciting recent developments has been the increasing number of pharmacists who are becoming part of patients’ medical homes. Patients are welcoming us into that space because of our critical role in medication therapy management to optimize outcomes.

As electronic medical records continue to advance, they will eventually become patient-owned and held. Once that happens, I believe patients will see clearly what an essential role we play, and patients will have their own pharmacists.

It is truly an exciting time! We can find examples everywhere of how far pharmacist care has come.

Pharmacists at Kimbrough Ambulatory Care System in Fort Meade, Md., are providing primary care services to military veterans. Pharmacists manage patients’ lipids and anticoagulation, and assist with post-deployment care of soldiers. Kimbrough pharmacists are building bridges of care for our military heroes and their families.

At the Diabetes Medical Management Clinic in the VA San Diego, the clinic is run by pharmacists and provides integrated care that covers not only diabetes, but hypertension, lipids, food choices, activity, adherence, and motivation as well.

Pharmacists at the VA San Diego are helping patients improve their personal goals. These pharmacists are bridging the care gaps and changing lives as a result.

In both the ambulatory and primary care space, we are accomplishing great things. But we need to continue to push for progress in this area…

In both the ambulatory and primary care space, we are accomplishing great things. But we need to continue to push for progress in this area, particularly on the issue of provider status for pharmacists. We all must get behind ASHP’s assertive advocacy in Congress and reach out to our own senators and representatives to make sure they know that pharmacists can improve patient care.

We must achieve provider status recognition for pharmacists’ critical role in ambulatory care, primary care, immunizations, and medication therapy management.

And we must create the kinds of sustainable business models that ensure pharmacists are compensated for their expertise and training.

Bridges to Interdisciplinary Care

We are now carving out our essential roles in patients’ lives as well as our place in patient-centered medical homes. But we need to build more bridges to interdisciplinary care. Team-based care will require patients to actively participate in their own health and wellness through disease prevention, treatment, and monitoring to ensure the best outcomes.

Ladies and gentlemen, you can’t build a bridge without architects, engineers, builders, and inspectors. Likewise, patient care cannot be effectively rendered without physicians, nurses, pharmacists, care management, the entire allied health team.

Consider the work of the healthcare team at the Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville, N.C. Pharmacists there manage specialty clinics in anticoagulation, osteoporosis, and care transitions. Multidisciplinary teams collaborate, and pharmacists expertly manage drug selection, titration, and monitoring. Interdisciplinary care and optimal patient outcomes are the drivers for everything this team does.

Bridges Within Our Profession

This example raises the obvious question. How can we inspire our future leaders to provide this kind of care? How can we energize accomplished clinicians with new insights? And what must we do to equip our successors so that they can become leaders, coaches, teachers, motivators, and strategists?

We must clear out any barriers that block both their individual growth and our progress as a profession. Every pharmacist must be prepared to lead.

It is clear to me that simply relying on a pharmacy education that is years behind us and only investing in modest continuing education efforts will not be enough to help us become optimal patient care providers.

Pharmacists must begin to care for the whole life of the patient.

Pharmacists must begin to care for the whole life of the patient.

As a strong supporter of Continuous Professional Development—or CPD—for all members of our workforce, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, I believe each individual must play an engineer’s role in the construction of new bridges to our future.

CPD is the means by which people maintain, develop, and advance their professional skills and knowledge. It is a structured approach to learning that helps ensure advancement of competencies to practice, taking in new knowledge, skills, and practical experience. CPD is a way to practice at the top of your license.

At my institution, I ask that every pharmacist and pharmacy technician develop his or her own Continuous Professional Development Plan. Individuals are encouraged to stretch beyond their reach to develop skills for future practice.

This includes innovations related to practice advancements, lean transformation activities, practice-related competencies, specialty certifications, preceptor development, and teaching certificates. These activities are designed to enhance the training, competency, and performance of every pharmacist and technician.

As a guide for your individual CPD plan, I am reminded of a quote by Arthur Ashe: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

Lee Memorial’s support and encouragement of CPD plans is helping to enhance pharmacists’ and pharmacy technicians’ contributions to patient care, and it is propelling our profession forward.

Bridges We Must Build

The message I want to leave you with today is that it is time for all of us to build bridges to the future… connections that will allow us to take on new roles that will benefit our patients.

It is time for full utilization of pharmacist skills as THE medication therapy expert.

It is time to create seamless delivery of care to our patients.

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are poised to optimize patient outcomes through inter-disciplinary medication management. As you attend the rest of the Summer Meetings then head back to your practice sites, I hope you’ll keep the following in mind as we all work to advance the care of patients:

1) We must improve continuity of care for every patient through advancing pharmacists’ role in ambulatory and primary care.

2) We must become team based, collaborative care leaders.

3) We must achieve provider status for pharmacists.

4) We must individually dedicate ourselves to robust continuing professional development.

If you were to ask me to pick the most important of these four, it would be CPD. That’s because continuing professional development will help us to maintain practice excellence, will enhance the chances for achieving provider status, and will elevate pharmacists’ role as patient care providers.

In closing, I will paraphrase a portion of the poem “The Bridge Builder” that I mentioned at the start of today’s remarks:

“To our patients may a pitfall be.
They, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, pharmacists are building the bridge for them.”

Let’s build those bridges!

Thank you!

 

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress