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Public Policy Update – Focus on the Possible

17 Nov 2020 10:50 AM | Anonymous

By Nathan Hanson, PharmD, MS, BCPS; Healthtrust Supply Chain

As we push for provider status and other new possibilities, let’s focus on actually doing the things that we are already allowed to do!

Productive Dissatisfaction

It is good that we are not satisfied with the status quo because that fuels us to continue to create new possibilities. It reminds us that our patients need the services that we can provide, so we need to keep pushing for the ability to provide them. However, as we knock on the doors of new possibilities we may be missing out on the possibilities already available to us!

Thinking Inside the Box

While we need to keep thinking outside the box, let’s put some creativity into making our current box work as well as it can. In other words, let’s make the best of the current circumstances. We in pharmacy often let the perfect become the enemy of the good. If we will instead push into some of these innovative practices that are currently options for us, we may find that it helps us make more rapid progress in the future. You will have real life examples of patients you have helped to strengthen your business case. You will have specific barriers you have encountered that we can advocate to eliminate. You will have built the infrastructure and expertise to capitalize on new opportunities as they are developed.

Interested? Here are 4 ideas of areas to explore with your team and your leaders.

Collaborative Practice

Yes, it is complicated. No, the payment structure does not provide your organization with easy money. But we really can serve our physicians and nurses on our teams by providing our medication expertise to patients who need the access. If you get something going you will be able to find that there really are some opportunities for reimbursement. You can start building your team, building relationships, and making a difference in patients’ lives.

COVID Vaccination

The information is changing by the day, but a couple things are clear: A lot of patients will need to be vaccinated, and pharmacy can help. Did you know that pharmacists, interns, and technicians are authorized to administer the vaccine? Tune in to webinars, get trained, and talk with your team about how you can support the testing and vaccination efforts.

Reducing Waste and Patient Costs

Fixing the problems with waste disposal and the cost of healthcare is far above our pay grades. However, did you know that if a patient is on an inhaler or other multiuse item in your hospital, it is legal for you to send it home with them at discharge? An authorized practitioner must order it, and written instructions for use must be sent with the patient at the time of discharge. This is a great way to reduce your waste and helping a patient at the same time.

Technician Roles

How do you utilize your staff to perform basic quality assurance activities in the pharmacy? Ask yourself, “Does this job actually require a pharmacist? Could a technician check this process?” Of course there must be a strong process in place, and of course the pharmacist and the managers must verify that everything is being done safely. But too often we limit our technicians just because that’s the way it’s always been done. Check out the Tech Check Tech best practices document on the MSHP website for information about this program.

Not Easy – But a Great Start

Brainstorm about these areas with your team. Do you have questions? Never hesitate to reach out to us for clarification. We may not know the answer, but we can point you in the right direction. If we creatively tackle current problems and current opportunities, we will be ready to take on more responsibility and more opportunities in the future. To paraphrase, we need to be faithful with what we have if we want to be entrusted with more. Start looking in to these opportunities to see what you can accomplish in your world, today.

Don’t Miss What the Public Policy Committee Has Done! 

Advocacy 101 Webinar: 

  • This is a 1 hour webinar that gives the basics about advocating for our patients at the legislative level and at the regulatory level.  It is a brief tutorial of ‘how things work.’ Link

Public Policy Updates:

  • January/February: Advocacy: Leadership In Action for Pharmacists and Technicians
    • It is our job to understand the current rules so we follow them correctly, and improve the rules, using the systems that are in place.
  • March/April:  Advocacy: A Winning Game Plan, and a Winning Team
    • The game plan for advocacy is caring, prioritization, education, and persuasion.  The next step is to build our team.
  • May/June: Legislative, Regulatory, and Associations
    • Do you know how change happens?  Through the work of elected officials and votes; government employees, inspectors, and boards, and groups of thought leaders, providing best practices and direction for the profession. 
  • July/August: Regulation in Uncertain Times
    • As pharmacists, we have a responsibility to stay knowledgeable and get involved to ensure that our patients get the care that they need.  Especially in these uncertain times!
  • September/October: Leadership is Influence. Influence Makes an Impact
    • Our world’s problems may seem too large for any of us to impact, but there are many small ways we can use our influence to be leaders.  We can impact social justice and advocate for important issues if we just follow these simple steps.

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