Time and again, independent community pharmacists have proven themselves to be resilient and savvy businesspeople who can modify and reinvent their practices to adapt to economic challenges.
News: Long-Term Care
QS/1 is celebrating its 40th anniversary in the pharmacy industry and wanted to take a glimpse into two pharmacists' perspectives. Despite age and gender gaps, the bond of pharmacy binds Lynn Connelly and Ashley Parker. A generation separates Connelly and Parker. Connelly is what some might classify as “old school,” a registered pharmacist who graduated from pharmacy school nearly three decades ago. Parker is considered “new school,” a Pharm.D. with the proverbial ink still drying on her degree, after being awarded four years ago.
As policymakers grapple with reform to improve care quality and lower costs, the demand for medication management services is at an all-time high. While this dynamic presents plenty of opportunities and challenges for pharmacists and pharmacies, there are still many unknowns about alignment of care and payment incentives.
Pharmacies and Home Medical Equipment (HME) providers can gather patient data to improve patient medication adherence, set up synchronization programs and increase revenue.
I remember my dad taking me to watch the Atlanta Braves play the St. Louis Cardinals. I’ll never forget the Cardinals making their arrival, because their shortstop – Ozzie Smith – took the field with a trot, a cartwheel and a backflip. If a back flipping shortstop doesn’t make your heart race, you may not be a baseball fan. Theatrics aside, shortstops are exciting because they are often defensive captains whom others take cues from, the link between the infield and outfield and the second base ghost that keeps runners honest. Similarly, pharmacists are becoming the captains of the patient healthcare team: implementing patient care plans; connecting healthcare team members, patients and family members with meaningful assessments and therapy data; keeping conditions in check and intervening when necessary.
Medicare is a beneficial program for Americans who are over age 65 or have certain disabilities, but providers sometimes find compliance issues a challenge. An understanding of mandates and how to properly submit claims will ensure organizations are reimbursed for Medicare Part B-covered medications, equipment and supplies, such as nebulizer-inhalation medications, oral immunosuppressive drugs and diabetic testing supplies. Occasionally, providers may unknowingly submit noncompliant or even fraudulent claims for the products and services they offer.
We often equate regulatory mandates to government overreaching that impose roadblocks, which prevent pharmacists from providing solid healthcare to patients. However, changes and goals stemming from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could actually give community pharmacies a new competitive advantage.
When the Meaningful Use process started, practices started being more diligent in collecting Business Associate Agreements from all their contractors who had access to their software.
Healthcare is ever changing and with those changes must come adaptation. There is a focus on quality of care versus quantity of care. Team-based care and pay-for-performance models are on the rise and pharmacists are a part of the equation.
In the previous edition of Insight, I said, “One competitive opportunity that never changes in pharmacy services is the percentage of your current customers who would recommend you to others.” I also mentioned, “Accomplishing high percentage scores requires a full-court press inside your operation for every employee to excel.”