The Weekly Roundup

November 10, 2017 | Pamela Dickson

National Diabetes Month is an ideal time to promote awareness and survey what’s on the horizon in treatment. California scientists are pinning their hopes for a significant advance in type 1 diabetes on a new technology: a way to transplant insulin-producing cells and prevent them from being rejected. Side effects—an obstacle for type 2 diabetes patients using GLP-1 agonists—can potentially be overcome through a beta-cell pathway discovered by researchers at the University of Alabama. Also, an old asthma drug is being explored by UC San Diego and University of Michigan researchers to inhibit the enzymes IKKε and TBK1, which make it difficult for mice in their study to expend energy. Meanwhile, pharmacists are on the front line of treatment using today’s management methods, including aiding adherence and developing counseling strategies that can aid in prevention, especially among groups at high risk. It’s certainly in pharmacists’ best interest to do so. 

Here are a few other stories that might be of interest:

Continue reading →

Optimizing the Medical Neighborhood

November 10, 2017 | Pamela Dickson

Whose responsibility is it when a patient is readmitted to the hospital after a cardiac event because they couldn’t get their blood pressure under control? Or when a patient taking hydrocodone and (unknown to the physician or pharmacist) is also taking cimetidine for heartburn, causing a fall? Whose responsibility is the full spectrum of patient care? More and more, the answer is everyone in the healthcare ecosystem—including pharmacists.

Continue reading →

The Weekly Roundup

October 27, 2017

While topics at the NCPA 2017 annual conference ranged broadly, one of the most talked-about themes inside and outside the halls of learning was definitely (and unsurprisingly) DIR fees(If you missed the event, this will give you a taste that might sway you to attend next year). Let’s face it: pharmacists are beside themselves. Earlier this year, DIR fees were called “legalized theft” in this piece on their connection to Star Ratings. Pharmacies first need to know how the fees are calculated: on a percentage- versus a per-prescription-basis. Then, if there are clinical or operational data that can change the rate (Star Ratings criteria like adherence rates or contract criteria like GDR), pharmacies can impact the fees ultimately charged. Meanwhile, tools like the DIR fee estimator are creating at least more predictability for pharmacies. Ultimately, though, relief may be in legislation. NCPA has made a strong push for the enactment of S. 413 / H.R. 1038, which would prohibit retroactive DIR fees, and many states are pursuing their own versions of transparency bills. Stay tuned.

Here are a few other stories that might be of interest:

Continue reading →

The Weekly Roundup

October 20, 2017

Open enrollment is in full swing. If your head has been in the sand and you’ve missed all the commercials—or were at the annual NCPA convention like our team was—you should know that your patients are being assailed with media advice on how to choose a plan. They are being told to check for plan changes on existing accounts, they are being encouraged to consider shopping around for a pharmacy (even if they have one they have always used), and as we already know, they are almost always getting pushed to mail order by their plans. These messages, and many more, create an opportunity for independents. Here’s a compendium of what APhA wants you to know about open enrollment, and here are some resources NCPA has put together. Finally, don’t forget the scripts and tools we have put together for when you talk Medicare Part D with patients in the coming weeks.

Continue reading →

Smart-Take: Hepatitis

October 20, 2017 | Pamela Dickson

Last month, a state of emergency was declared in San Diego County as an outbreak of hepatitis A infections climbed throughout the summer, pushing the county to sanitize downtown streets with bleach in an effort to stem the spread of infection. Los Angeles also got onboard as infections were reported in their area and in Santa Cruz. A significant outbreak has also occurred in Michigan, sparking a strong vaccination drive in both states.

Continue reading →

The Weekly Roundup

October 06, 2017 | Pamela Dickson

From legislation around provider status to retroactive DIR fees to opioid abuse to naloxone use, pharmacists nationwide have heeded the call to make independents’ voices heard at the state and national levels through grassroots advocacy efforts, hosting legislators in their stores, and reaching out to their representatives. But have you ever thought about running for office? Smart-Fill has recently partnered with a new advocacy group, Pharmacists in Charge (PIC), whose main focus will be getting pharmacists and other pharmacy stakeholders elected to Congress.

“Electing independent pharmacists to office is the most effective way to make sure we have a seat at the table and our voices are heard as important policy decisions are made,” said PIC president Tim Gould. “We’re focused on state legislative chambers during the 2018 cycle and intend to expand to electing members to serve in Washington, DC.”

Continue reading →

Flu Season: Ready, Set, Go

October 06, 2017 | Pamela Dickson

It’s baaaaack. Flu season is starting to strike around the country, and flu shot signs are up all over town. But is everyone in your pharmacy on the same page and prepared to make a contribution to your bottom line during flu season? Here are some ideas to consider in order to amp up your flu season services:

Continue reading →

The Weekly Roundup

September 29, 2017 | Pamela Dickson

As independent pharmacists, you are already aware of the importance of being active in your community. But have you expanded the definition to include the online community? According to a PrescribeWellness survey, 42% of pharmacy patients would like their pharmacist to be more active on social media. It’s a boon to marketing efforts, certainly. But it’s also a good way to push out educational content. Although we keep hearing that today’s youth are not on Facebook, the reality is that 1.8 billion logins on the platform happen daily, making it the obvious first choice if you are at sea on what to try first. Here are some water-wings to help you wade into the pool if you’re new to social.

Need some ideas on what to post?

Continue reading →