The American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), American Pharmacists Association (APhA), the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), and the Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group (PPAG) have submitted a petition to the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) seeking recognition of pediatric pharmacy practice as a specialty in pharmacy.
The four national pharmacist organizations provided a detailed case for specialty recognition by citing the complex and unique needs of pediatric patients, who require highly individualized care due to varying ages, weights, and developmental stages. Board recognition is essential because the health challenges facing today’s pediatric patients are not being adequately addressed by pharmacists in general practice or other specialty practices, the organizations said in their petition to BPS.
Approximately 70 percent of all pediatric hospital bed days are for chronic illnesses. In 2006, approximately 14 percent of U.S. children were reported to have special health care needs and 22 percent of households with children had at least one child with a special health care need. Although the needs are substantial and diverse in pediatrics, it has been reported by the Children’s Hospital Association that shortages of pediatric care means that many young patients must wait weeks and sometimes months to get an appointment. In a nationwide survey of rural hospitals, more than 36 percent responded that they were experiencing a shortage of pediatric providers within all disciplines.
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 pediatric pharmacy practice, which the organizations estimated as being at least between 4,000 to 5,000; and the education, training and experience required of pediatric pharmacists.
ASHP will host a BPS open hearing on the petition, as well as another petition for a critical care 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 www.bpsweb.org.