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Commentary

Ohio’s Plan to Invest in Pharmacies: A Sign of Value for our Profession


July 22, 2019

cawleyThe outpatient world of pharmaceutical care has been a difficult road to navigate. Although there are many challenges for pharmacists in this world, one of the major setbacks is financial compensation for services. We as pharmacists have provided “free service” for generations and it is time we are reimbursed for services that we provide. If you do not receive financial compensation for a service you provide, you are either volunteering your time, or the service you provide has no economic value.

Recently, the Columbus Dispatch discussed a great story focused on how the Ohio legislature agreed to slash the authority of private managed care companies and the pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) they hire.  PBMs would still be require to report to the state on various metrics including how much it pays for drugs and how much it pays pharmacies to dispense medications. In doing this, the 2-year budget would give pharmacists $100 million to make up for lost reimbursement resulting in the closure of many pharmacies in recent years. 1

It is great to see the Ohio legislature recognizing pharmacists for their value. Although I would believe the money provided will increase the salary for all pharmacists, I would consider taking this money and invest in patient related health outcomes. I believe using this money to invest in a major project (with legislature support) to demonstrate a more global impact on patient care outcomes. This may have a much greater impact on future financial reimbursement.

I applaud the Ohio legislature for their willingness to understand the role of pharmacists. I would hope that other state legislatures take notice that our role as pharmacists could indeed help your community.

Are you willing to invest in us and find out? 

Michael J. Cawley, PharmD, RRT, CPFT, FCCM, is a professor of clinical pharmacy at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, University of the Sciences. He has more than 25 years of experience practicing in the areas of medical, surgical, trauma, and burn intensive care as both a critical care clinical pharmacist and registered respiratory therapist.

Reference

  1. The Columbus Dispatch. Ohio/s budget deal would dump current PBMs, give pharmacists $100 million. https://www.dispatch.com/news/20190716/ohios-budget-deal-would-dump-current-pbms-give-pharmacists-100-million. Accessed July 17, 2019.
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