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    How pharmacists can find jobs, get paid, and win provider status

    Ron CameronRonald G. CameronThe profession of pharmacy faces a looming problem that cannot be avoided much longer. If nothing changes between now and 2018, we may see a 25% oversupply of pharmacists in the marketplace.

    See also: Pharmacist job market improves

    Create more jobs

    How can this problem be alleviated? The only solution would be to create more jobs for pharmacists, outside the normal dispensing that most pharmacists still engage in today.

    Where would these jobs come from? The answer is known throughout the profession: Such jobs would come from medication adherence consultations, medication therapy management, pre- and post-hospitalization medication reviews, and any other direct contact that pharmacists can have with patients.

    Pharmacists are, after all, the drug experts. They are Doctors of Pharmacy! Ask them first!

    Pharmacists know more about medications than all the other medical professionals combined. When issues connected with medications arise, pharmacists are the ones whose expertise should be sought first. Yet all too often, things just don’t happen that way.

    See also: You want collaborative practice? Win provider status

    Get on the team

    Pharmacists should be on every healthcare team. And they should be paid for the time spent working with or for patients. Time is money. Nobody works for free. All other healthcare providers are paid for the time they spend attending to patients. Pharmacists are the only exception. This has to change.

    While the ACA has offered pharmacists some opportunities, it failed to designate them as “healthcare providers.” This failure has created a significant obstacle between pharmacists and the compensation they deserve.

    The ACA went for value-based care and focused on accountable care organizations (ACOs), yet MTM, which should be a fundamental tool of ACOs, was hardly mentioned.

    Medication errors are the biggest cause of hospital readmissions. Research has shown that when pharmacists do pre- and post-discharge medication reconciliation, readmissions go down.

    Data have also shown that Transitional Care Management is reducing 30-day readmissions.

    Wherever pharmacists are included in the care team, outcomes improve.

    More examples:

    • Annual Wellness Visits are similar to Comprehensive Medication Reviews (CMRs), but they add personalized plans for the patient.

    • Chronic Care Management is set up for patients with two or more chronic conditions that need to be monitored on a monthly basis.

    The above-mentioned programs are all great, but pharmacists need to be recognized under ACA as healthcare providers, so that they can do CMRs for the Medicare and Medicaid patients, and get paid for their time.

    Here is a simple three-step solution to the problem of getting paid:

    Next: The three-step solution

    Ronald G. Cameron
    Ron Cameron is CEO of Cameron and Company, provider of the AdherenceCameron medication adherence program and The Pharmacists’ Registry, ...

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