Advanced-practice pharmacists: Practice characteristics and reimbursement of pharmacists certified for collaborative clinical practice in New Mexico and North Carolina

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Abstract

Purpose

The results of a survey assessing the practice settings, clinical activities, and reimbursement experiences of pharmacists with advanced-practice designations are reported.

Methods

A questionnaire was sent to all certified Pharmacist Clinicians in New Mexico and all Clinical Pharmacist Practitioners in North Carolina (a total of 189 pharmacists at the time of the survey in late 2008) to elicit information on practice settings, billing and reimbursement methods, collaborative drug therapy management (CDTM) protocols, and other issues.

Results

Of the 189 targeted pharmacists, 64 (34%) responded to the survey. On average, the reported interval from pharmacist licensure to certification as an advanced practitioner was 11 years. The majority of survey participants were practicing in community or institutional settings, most often hospital clinics or physician offices. About two thirds of the respondents indicated that their employer handled the billing of their services using standard evaluation and management codes, with estimated total monthly billings averaging $6500. At the time of the survey, about 80% of the respondents were engaged in a CDTM protocol. The survey results suggest that pharmacists with advanced-practice designations are perceived favorably by patients and physicians and their services are in high demand, but more than one third of respondents indicated a need to justify their advanced-practice positions to administrators.

Conclusion

Pharmacists with advanced-practice designations are providing clinical services in various settings under collaborative practice arrangements that include prescribing privileges. Despite growing patient and physician acceptance, reimbursement challenges continue to be a barrier to wider use of CDTM programs.

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