Gerald Tarutis

Pharmacists – New Trends

Posted by Gerald Tarutis on June 01, 2015

Mark Eastham, R.Ph., SVP/GM, Pharmacy Optimization, McKesson predicts that there will be an increase in prescriptions for specialty drugs, health system pharmacies will be expected to become revenue-generators, value-based payment models will increasingly be applied to health system pharmacies and 340B audits by HHS will increase.

The 2014 National Pharmacist Workforce Survey reports that “an average of 35.3% of the respondents in community pharmacy settings indicated that the amount of time spent over the last year in patient care services not associated with medication dispensing was much more.” This represents a new trend of pharmacists becoming care providers. While pharmacists are not currently recognized under Section 1861 of the Social Security Act as health care providers eligible for Medicare Part B reimbursement. They do however qualify under Medicare Part D, but only for select cognitive services, such as medication therapy management. There is federal legislation pending entitled the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act. Meanwhile, California passed legislation which allows pharmacists to perform patient assessments, order and interpret drug therapy-related laboratory tests, refer patients to other providers, initiate, adjust, and discontinue medications under physician protocol and work with other health care providers to evaluate and manage a patient’s health issues. As of January 2015, 37 states have recognized pharmacists as health care providers - See more at: The most recent legislation was enacted by the State of Washington.

As of January 1, 2015 primary pharmacies were required to establish systems for verification and handling of suspect or illegitimate product. By July 1, 2015 pharmacies must be able to provide lot-level product tracing information – namely, transaction information, history, and statements – for 6 years. It is projected that without electronic support this will be a significant burden for independent pharmacies.

With increased duties and responsibilities another trend is the utilization of pharmacy techs and concern as well as liability for medication errors. “US Pharmacopeia's Medication Errors Reporting Program received 90,000 reports of pharmacy errors in 2003 – nearly 40 percent of which were attributed to performance deficit. But a 2007 report from researchers at Ohio State University estimated 5.7 errors per 10,000 prescriptions, or 2.2 million dispensing errors a year.”