The February issue of Pharmacy Today has an article about a project going on down at the University of Florida. Quick summary- pharmacy students are conducting comprehensive medication reviews with WellCare patients over the phone.
After reading the article over lunch today, I can only think one thing: Why in the hell is the University of Florida giving away pharmacist services?
I say that because there was no mention of reimbursements for the MTM services that were provided. Articles like this do absolutely no good for practicing pharmacists who are trying to develop a business model for medication therapy management because reimbursements are not discussed.
Maybe WellCare is reimbursing the Gators. Maybe not. The article doesn't say. But if the article doesn't say that pharmacists are getting paid, then I assume that they aren't.
The article discusses how, over the course of a standard day at the call center, a total of 25 MTM calls are made by 12 pharmacy students. That's two calls per day, per student.
Now this is just my opinion, but two MTM calls per day per pharmacist is not going to pay the bills for any operation. Based on the reimbursements I've personally seen from Outcomes, those 25 calls wouldn't even cover the costs of labor and benefits for two licensed pharmacists.
Doesn't look like the type of business model that we should try to recreate in the real world.
Maybe it's time for pharmacy to stop looking at academia for ways to advance the profession. Academia doesn't need to make a profit. In the real world, no profit means no more business.
APhA...how about featuring a real business that is successfully billing for MTM services? That's what real pharmacists want to see. Not all of us are fortunate enough to have 12 students to provide the labor for an operation that still can't operate in the black.
Just some thoughts from a frustrated pharmacist out on the front lines.
As a side note. Today I received a letter from a local medical insurance carrier that said that they were denying my application to be a provider for their company. The reason... they don't cover the type of services that I offer (medication therapy management and pharmacotherapy consults).
Instead of promoting happy-go-lucky-yea-for-us-we-do-MTM-for-free stories, how about getting an insurer or two to recognize us as providers straight up? Forget trying to show how pharmacists can save money and enhance patient care.
Get us recognized as providers so we can prove it.