NOVEMBER 01, 2006

Consultant pharmacists working in the assisted living environment have a new payment formula. Payment for clinical services provided by consultant and senior care pharmacists in this practice setting is separate from reimbursement to pharmacies for the dispensing of drug products and associated services.

The Board of Directors of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) noted that this was a key point in the revised "Guidelines for Providing Consultant and Dispensing Services to Assisted Living Residents." ASCP adopted the guidelines on September 27, 2006. They can be found at resources/policy/guidelines.cfm; click on Assisted Living. The guidelines are intended to accomplish the following:

•Enable residents of assisted living facilities to receive the medication therapy management services needed to promote their health, functionality, and independence

•Direct pharmacists who provide consulting and dispensing services to assisted living settings

•Educate the officials of assisted living facilities about services they should expect to receive from consultant pharmacists and the dispensing pharmacy

•Educate residents, family members, policy makers, and others about the critical role of pharmacy services in the assisted living setting

Furthermore, according to ASCP, providing quality pharmacy services to the assisted living community involves additional time, knowledge, systems, and procedures that are beyond the scope of services provided by most pharmacies and pharmacists. Payers must realize and prepare to reimburse for these services using a different formula designed to cover the expenses associated with providing these services in addition to paying for the cost of the individual medications.