Blair Thielemier, PharmD
Blair Green Thielemier, PharmD is an independent consultant pharmacist living in Arkansas with her husband and daughter. Her latest project is the first-ever virtual pharmacy conference, the Elevate Pharmacy Virtual Summit. She is also the founder of Pharmapreneur Academy, an online e-Course and Community where she guides pharmacist-entrepreneurs through the process and barriers of building a pharmacy consulting business. She is the author of How to Build a Pharmacy Consulting Business, a contributing author for Pharmacy Times and guest host on the Pharmacy Podcast. More information about Dr. Thielemier can be found on her website.
There is a lot of gray area where independent medication therapy management (MTM) consultants are concerned.
On the one hand, the platforms OutcomesMTM and Mirixa publicly stand against outside “sub-contractors” offering MTM services. On the other hand, there are huge call centers promoted by several pharmacy schools across the nation.
Independent MTM consultant pharmacists will usually work as employees at multiple pharmacies. They complete all compliance policies and training within each organization for which they are consulting.
Some independent consultants even cover relief services when necessary, making them valuable assets for many independent community pharmacies.
Should an independent MTM consultant be considered an “outside source” like a call-center consultant?
Mirixa and OutcomesMTM have made their case against subcontracting of MTM services, and they want comprehensive medication reviews (CMRs) performed face-to-face at the pharmacy level. However, they do not specify against an independent consultant providing these services at a pharmacy.
Busy staff pharmacists who cannot fit MTM into their cram-packed workflow will suffer. It makes sense to allow them to determine who completes CMRs for their patients.
Independent consultant pharmacists can still meet patients in the pharmacy of their choice and easily access dispensing records in the pharmacy’s computer system.
Why is face-to-face CMR more valuable?
From a patient relationship standpoint, face-to-face contact is extremely beneficial. A pharmacist providing part-time relief work can also provide a valuable CMR with these patients.
An independent MTM consultant who is experienced with clinical services and has access to the patient’s medication records can complete face-to-face CMR in the patient's primary pharmacy. A call center employee cannot make the same case.
Independent MTM consultants are more or less regular clinical pharmacists who happen to work for multiple pharmacies. The reimbursement from Medicare for completed cases goes directly back to their employer.
The independent consultant model works well for everyone and solves a huge problem for community pharmacies. Those same independently owned small businesses that are simply unable to provide clinical MTM services in a timely, sustainable fashion have a chance to compete with retail giants that have staff exclusively dedicated to MTM services.
Community pharmacies that are facing reimbursement cuts are the ones that need the most outside help. An independent MTM consultant pharmacist can both serve busy retail community pharmacies and help them compete in the marketplace.