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    Pharmacy Salary Survey 2016



    Workload woes

    Workload is a major concern. Most respondents, 72%, said their workload has increased over the past year. Similarly, 63.4% reported increased stress levels at work over the past year.

    Pharmacy volume is up across all settings. Dr. Zegar noted that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has increased access to health care, including pharmacy. The scope of pharmacy practice has expanded to include immunizations, chart reviews, medication therapy management, and a host of other new duties.

    “Job stress has gone up with an increase in demand for our services and our prescription volume without any correlated increase in pharmacy staff, technician help, or budget hours,” he said. “Better training would help, so all of us can practice to the fullest of our abilities as we are legally allowed to do.”

    With extra training, senior technicians can handle tasks that are usually done by pharmacists, such as pre-vaccination interviews and even drawing up vaccines. But that kind of advanced training goes well beyond the basic chain training program. It is up to each pharmacy manager to eke out hours and funding for additional staff training.

    Another 13.1% of respondents reported “other” reasons for increased stress--including 13-hour days with no overlap; conference calls and meetings on what was supposed to be a day off; corporate BS; administrative pressure to decrease personnel; corporate buyouts; declining reimbursement; medication therapy management pressures; time pressure; and unrealistic expectations from customers, managers, and third party payers.

    “My biggest stressors are PBMs and insurance companies,” said Greta Goldshtein, PharmD, owner of Roxbury Pharmacy in Los Angeles, CA. “They are stealing my patients into mail order, they are cutting my margins, they are hitting me with DIR (direct and indirect remuneration) fees at every opportunity.”

    “As an independent, you have to provide superior service to hang onto your patients. That is staff-intensive. You must have a convenient location and you need extra staff to provide memorable service levels to your patients. And all the while, third parties are doing all they can to slash your reimbursement. Pharmacy is a wonderful profession; I love helping generations of patients. But from the business perspective, I tell young people to think again.”

    Fred Gebhart, Contributing Editor
    Contributing Editor Fred Gebhart works all over the world as a freelance writer and editor, but his home base is in San Francisco.


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