American Pharmacists Month is an important time to recognize pharmacists who are innovators in medication therapy management
October marks American Pharmacists month, which is a time to recognize the vital role pharmacists play in their communities.
This celebration has its roots in October 1925, when radio stations across the United States broadcasted special programming about pharmacists for a week.1 In 2004, the American Pharmacists Association started recognizing October as American Pharmacists Month.1
AMERICAN PHARMACISTS MONTH AND MTM
October also brings an important opportunity to highlight pharmacists who are medication therapy management (MTM) innovators.
Pharmacist trailblazers can have a tremendous impact on patient care through unique MTM practices. Remote hypertension management programs, burn clinics, and heart transplant clinics are just a few of the many opportunities.2-4 Not only can pharmacists improve health outcomes, but they can also lower health care costs. One study that evaluated pharmacist telehealth MTM services in a Medicare Next Generation Accountable Care Organization found it resulted in monthly health care savings of $388.50 (P = .0261).5
In email interviews, 4 pharmacists who are trailblazers in MTM discussed their unique practices.
ERICA MAHN, PHARMD, BC-ADM
Erica Mahn, PharmD, BC-ADM, is the executive director of community pharmacy services at Alps Pharmacy in Springfield, Missouri. Mahn said pharmacists are recognized as providers in the MO HealthNet Medicaid program.
“We are able to complete provider enrollment just as a physician would and bill for MTM services. This ranges from preselected interventions based on certain disease states to injection administration billing and [Current Procedural Terminology] code billing based on interventions we identified for patients,” Mahn said. “Through this opportunity, we have billed over $80,000 in claims yearly for the past 2 years.”
Mahn added that the pharmacy has recently hired 2 additional pharmacists to work solely on these billable claims, with an average return on investment of 60% for the time spent with a pharmacist. Importantly, she said, this reimbursement rate “can’t even be dreamed of” by solely filling prescriptions.
MEGHAN SMART, PHARMD, BCMTMS
Meghan Smart, PharmD, BCMTMS, is the clinical pharmacist intern leader at Cureatr, a comprehensive medication management services provider. At Cureatr, pharmacists provide a virtual ambulatory care clinic and MTM services. The company also recently acquired SinfoníaRx, which Smart said has increased the staff’s ability to provide care to patients across the country.
Cureatr has also enhanced its teaching services to include more residents, interns, and students. “We incorporate a layered learning model where learners further along in pharmacy school mentor learners who are earlier in their schooling, under the supervision of our clinical pharmacists. Cureatr places a strong emphasis on clinical development through consistent feedback, mentorship, and preparing interns for a successful career in pharmacy practice,” Smart said. “Interns are cross-trained to provide MTM services and other innovative clinical programs designed to improve access and optimize medication use. This year, our team of over 100 pharmacy interns has helped our clinical pharmacists reach more patients than ever before.”
KARMEN STEPHENS, PHARMD, BCGP, FASCP
Karmen Stephens, PharmD, BCGP, FASCP, is the vice president of clinical services at Consana, an MTM services provider founded in 2018.
“We created a model that removes the obstacles that prevent pharmacists from delivering optimal MTM services to their patients. Our model allows our pharmacists to focus on building a trusting relationship with their patients, whether through telehealth or face-to-face visits. This patient-pharmacist connection is essential for a successful and meaningful MTM encounter,” Stephens said.
Pharmacists at Consana lead a variety of MTM services, such as conducting medication reviews, providing clinical recommendations, resolving drugrelated issues, enhancing medication adherence, and performing ongoing follow-up.
“We are driven by our mission to make a positive difference in the lives and outcomes of our patients, provide a supportive workplace where our pharmacists can thrive professionally, and ultimately bring value to our partners by reducing health care costs,” Stephens said. “I believe at its core, this is what MTM was originally created for. The work we do at Consana has consistently shown me that the old adage about ‘those who love what they do never work a day in their lives’ is absolutely true. All pharmacists deserve the opportunity and space to love what they do.”
LISA MORRIS, RPH, BCGP, FASCP
Lisa Morris, RPh, BCGP, FASCP, is the executive director of clinical services at Consana. Morris emphasized that innovative technology, teamwork, and a workplace culture of high expectations are driving forces that enhance clinical expertise.
“We believe small changes and consistently doing the next right thing for patients and pharmacists can trigger a wave of improvements in our health care system. Our handpicked pharmacists have the skill set and experience to guide patients through medication challenges, enhance communication within the health care team, and drive person-centered care and positive outcomes for all patients,” Morris said. “Giving pharmacists the support they need with the freedom to think outside the box is something we take seriously at Consana Health.”
About the Author
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPH, PACS, is a drug information pharmacist and Pharmacy Times contributor who resides in South Florida.