Issue 6: The Collaborative Practice®

Celebrating AmCare clinical pharmacy innovations and pharmacists across the country

Picture this: the margins on medications your clinical pharmacy team dispenses are razor thin. And recent drug price increases (and the nebulous world of pharmacy reimbursement) are further stressing your bottom line.

You know this issue is a symptom of a more distressing root cause: our healthcare system – and many policymakers – view pharmacists as valuable but not indispensable. And while progress has come in the form of legislation like the PREP Act, there’s more work to be done.

This month’s Collaborative Practice highlights how pharmacists drive positive change across the continuum of care. Interested in advocating for the power of pharmacists? Then keep reading!

If you’d like to chat and learn more about how RxLive’s comprehensive, value-based pharmacy solution can improve your care team’s impactability, please be in touch.

All the best –

The Team @ RxLive

Announcing our first webinar…

RxLive’s first webinar will take place on April 19th at 11:30 AM CST.

The event, presented by Lynn Eschenbacher, will highlight pharmacy’s value across the continuum of care at a time when providers and networks are shifting from fee-for-service to value-based care models.

If you’re interested in tactical advice about how pharmacy programs can turn the levers that power clinical, quality, and financial performance, then you won’t want to miss out. 

We look forward to seeing you there!

Lynn Eschenbacher

CEO, Echelon Health Strategies
Chief Customer Officer, RxLive

Systemic change starts with education and advocacy

This month, we spoke with Kathy Baldwin, a clinical care pharmacist and president of the Florida Society of Health-System Pharmacists (FSHP), about the pharmacist’s role as an advocate – both for themselves and for their patients.

Pharmacy has changed in the 38 years since Kathy started in the field. But the public’s perception of pharmacists remains entrenched in the idea that they exist solely as human medication dispensers.

As Kathy puts it: “When you turn on the TV and see a Walgreens or GoodRx commercial, you’re probably seeing a pharmacist dispense a prescription or look at a bottle before saying they can match prices. But what you don’t see are pharmacists as core parts of team-based care.”

Pharmacists are essential healthcare providers. And when pharmacists underscore this reality, patients and providers benefit – a fact perhaps best evidenced by a pivotal meeting Kathy had in 2020.

At the time, pharmacists in Florida didn’t have collaborative practice agreements in ambulatory care clinics. So Kathy, with the help of her hospital’s president, invited a state senator to speak with them and hear the drawbacks of the arrangement.

“I’ll never forget this,” Kathy states, “the legislator asked me whether the Florida Medical Association would support this stance. And I said, ‘I can tell you they won’t oppose it.’”

That was good enough for the senator. And the Florida Medical Association went on to support the bill granting pharmacists those collaborative practice agreements.

But this advocacy work is far from over. Under the Social Security Act, pharmacists still aren’t formally recognized as providers, despite overwhelming evidence showing their unique value in the healthcare system as medication experts and public health educators. That’s why Kathy urges pharmacists to “join together” and boldly advocate for their place in healthcare. Patients are relying on it.

For the full interview, click here.

The case for pharmacist intervention

In each edition of The Collaborative Practice, we highlight one anonymized patient case from a pharmacist in our network. The goal? Illustrate the value of pharmacist intervention and its benefit to the healthcare ecosystem. Here’s our case for this month…

Patient Case: Triaging symptoms with the right medication

Recently, one of our clinical pharmacists met with a 32-year-old patient who’d been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D) and prominent bloating. The patient had no significant past medical history, and their current medications included a daily multivitamin and loperamide 1mg in the morning as needed.

Because treatment for IBS is typically directed at improving individual symptoms (in IBS-D this usually involves antidiarrheal medications), our pharmacist recommended rifaximin 550 mg TID for 14 days with loperamide 2mg QAM.

In this case, rifaximin was the right choice because it stays highly concentrated within the gastrointestinal tract – a necessary characteristic for a patient with excessive gas production. Clinical trials reflect rifaximin’s success in IBS cases, as well.

Stories we’re following

From potential Medicaid cuts to widespread drug shortages, here are five stories that have our attention:

Millions who rely on Medicaid may be booted from program

By 2024, as many as 14 million people could lose access to Medicaid as the program reviews eligibility for the first time in three years.

Senate panel advances bill to reform PBMs and bring more FTC scrutiny on industry

Approved by the Senate Commerce Committee, this bill would ban practices like spread pricing and clawback fees that burden patients with higher drug prices.

Ozempic shortages? Some pharmacists are choosing not to stock the drug at all

Driven in popularity due to its purported weight-loss benefits, Ozempic is proving to be a prohibitively expensive drug for independent pharmacists to stock.

New drug shortages in the US increased nearly 30% in 2022, Senate report finds

US supply chain issues are rearing their head again. And for providers who need to deliver intensive care to patients, it’s an issue of life and death.

Patient-centered approach helps ensure biosimilar adoption success

Recent reports highlight the positive health outcomes associated with biosimilar use. But to improve further, patients need additional insights from providers.

Celebrating National Poetry Month

Who says a newsletter about the pharmacy world can’t delve into the arts every now and then? And if you’re looking for a thematic tie-in, here it is: pharmacists are creative problem solvers in their own right.

If this piques your interest, look into the poets we’ve identified below – each with a background in healthcare (and, in some cases, pharmacy).

Kristen Engelen, PharmD
Kristen Engelen, PharmD, is the chief pharmacy officer of RxLive and a certified consultant pharmacist; she has over a decade of experience in retail pharmacy settings. Kristen became an RxLive co-founder because of her passion for geriatric pharmacy, with a focus on the intersection of pharmacy and aging.