APhA Calls for Restoring Residency Funds

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0,0

Current plans to slash federal fundingfor hospital-based specialized pharmacyresidency programs will "negativelyaffect pharmacy services andpatient care" and "place patients atgreater risk of medication errors," officialsof the American PharmacistsAssociation (APhA) have warned.

In comments filed with the Centersfor Medicare and Medicaid Services(CMS), APhA officials voiced strong concernsabout the decision to eliminatefederal funding for second-year specializedpharmacy residencies. Hospitalpharmacists generally are not requiredto complete such training before gainingemployment at an institution.

Originally, CMS proposed to eliminatefunding for all hospital pharmacyresidency programs. In response tothousands of comments from pharmacistsprotesting the move, however, theagency agreed to allow funds to be usedto support first-year hospital residencies.

In urging CMS to reverse its decisionon cutting funds for second-yearpharmacy residencies as well, APhAofficials argued that the cuts couldactually drive up health care costs."With fewer pharmacists serving asspecialized pharmacy residents, it willbe much harder for the remaining staffto maintain the appropriate level ofpharmacy services," they said.

Noting that "the services that pharmacyresidents provide can reducepatient-related costs," the APhA officialssaid that specialized pharmacyresidents "can help patients appropriately manage their medication use,effectively reducing the length of hospitalstays and reducing the need forfuture hospitalizations."

Mr. Rankin is a freelance medical writer.