Pharmacist Organizations Partner to Seek Specialty Recognition for Critical Care Specialty

Published Online: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
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ACCP, APhA, and ASHP Cite Special Needs of Critical Care Population

The American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), American Pharmacists Association (APhA), and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) have partnered to submit a petition to the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) seeking recognition of critical care pharmacy practice as a specialty in pharmacy.

The three national pharmacist organizations provided a detailed case for specialty recognition by citing the highly complex needs of critically ill or critically injured patients who require intensive care, usually with life and death consequences. The petitioners urge board recognition because the complexity of critical illnesses requires that patients have access to the expertise of a critical care pharmacist specialist who brings a deep understanding of how drugs function and interact in critically ill patients.

Each year in the United States, five million patients of all ages become critically ill or are critically injured and require intensive care through medical, surgical, or specialty intensive care units in hospitals, trauma centers, and health systems. Medication management of these patients requires the application of specialized knowledge and skill across a wide range of disease states, which often present at the most extreme ends of the spectrum. These skills must be coupled with an in-depth understanding of the differences between critically and non-critically ill patients, as well as the management of common disease states under uncommon circumstances.

In their petition, the organizations addressed the seven required BPS criteria, including the need and demand for recognition; the number of pharmacists who devote most of their time to critical care practice, which the organizations estimated as being at least between 6,000 to 7,000; and the education, training and experience required of critical care pharmacists.

ASHP will host a BPS open hearing on the petition, as well as another petition for a pediatric specialty, on Tuesday, December 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at its Midyear Clinical Meeting in Las Vegas.  This open hearing is part of BPS’s public comment period soliciting input from the pharmacy profession, other health professions, third-party payers, and the public in support or in opposition to these petitions.  BPS will consider the comments from this hearing in their deliberations along with the evidence presented by the petitioning organizations to meet the criteria to recognize a new pharmacy specialty.

View the petition and related information at

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