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CDC Sees The Light! Pharmacist Reimbursement Is Necessary

Pharmacist reimbursement has been a frustrating battle for us pharmacists. We don’t get enough respect when it comes to legislation (i.e. provider status) and reimbursement of clinical services. There was a recent research article put out by the CDC that demonstrates the challenges that pharmacists face with regards to doing the right thing for patients conflicting with not getting paid to do the right thing. Staffing shortages and challenges from COVID really exacerbated the challenges in providing adequate pharmaceutical care. I think you should read the article, but in case you don’t want to or don’t have time, I’ll highlight some of my takeaways.

Pharmacist Reimbursement Studied By Non-Pharmacists

As pharmacists, we tend to preach to the choir about pharmacist reimbursement and not being paid for clinical services. What has me hopeful about this article is that the overwhelming majority of authors did not have “PharmD” in their title. This is critical to obtaining an increase in clinical roles and ultimately an increase in funding. Here’s the list of primary authors:

  • Gregory Dwyer, MPH1
  • Adebola Popoola, JD, MPH, MBS2
  • Naomi Seiler, JD1
  • Nicole Therrien, PharmD, MPH3
  • Aaron Karacuschansky, MPH1
  • Erika Fulmer, MHA2
  • Katie Horton, JD, RN, MPH

Another big takeaway for me was the amount of money spent on this study. 400,000$ is not an overwhelming figure when it comes to larger studies and investigations, but I do feel that it is significant. Historically, most funding demonstrating the benefit and work of pharmacists has come from pharmacist groups and organizations. This was directly paid by CDC/HHS. It was good to see a “non-pharmacy” administrative organization provide some evidence/support on the issue of pharmacist reimbursement.

I 100% agree that it feels like pharmacy has been stuck at a crossroads for a really long time. The train is leaving the station down the more clinical side of the profession but at a snail’s pace. In the future, I truly believe there will be more pharmacists working in clinical roles than dispensing roles which is certainly a flip from years ago. I concede that reimbursement from federal agencies has been painfully slow but this article gives me hope and demonstrates that more than “just pharmacists” are thinking about this issue.

What do you think?

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Written By Eric Christianson

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