President’s Message Summer 2011

Happy summertime everyone!

The word change is interesting as it can evoke so many different thoughts and emotions. Change can be as mundane as, “I need to change clothes”, or to stir passion as in the words of President Obama, “voting for change we can believe in.” Change is scary for many people because it represents the unknown, and the possibility that things will be worse than the status quo. It was a problem for me when, graduating in 2007 contemplating to leave the state I love and cherish because I was going to be entering a healthcare system not designed to apply the knowledge and skills I learned in school. Not because I was not capable, but policymakers and other healthcare stakeholders lack overall understanding of our profession.  It is a new era for 2011 graduates. Whether we like it or not, change is on the horizon.  After several years of trying to get The Collaborative Drug Therapy Management (CDTM) bill passed in New York State, this bill was signed by Governor Cuomo on May 19th, 2011. Only three years after New York State became the 49th state to allow pharmacists to immunize.

THE COLLABORATIVE DRUG THERAPY MANAGEMENT BILL AS DEFINED IN ARTICLE 4579 SECTION 6801 OF NEW YORK STATE EDUCATION LAW SHALL MEAN: THE PERFORMANCE OF SERVICES BY A PHARMACIST  RELATING TO THE REVIEW, EVALUATION AND MANAGEMENT OF  DRUG THERAPY TO A PATIENT, WHO IS BEING TREATED BY A PHYSICIAN FOR A SPECIFIC DISEASE OR DISEASE STATE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH  A WRITTEN AGREEMENT OR PROTOCOL WITH A VOLUNTARILY PARTICIPATING PHYSICIAN AND  IN  ACCORDANCE  WITH THE POLICIES, PROCEDURES, AND PROTOCOLS OF THE FACILITY.  SUCH AGREEMENT OR PROTOCOL AS ENTERED INTO BY THE PHYSICIAN AND A PHARMACIST, MAY INCLUDE, AND SHALL BE LIMITED TO:

  • Adjusting or managing a drug regimen of a patient, pursuant to a patient specific written order or protocol made by the patient’s physician, which may include adjusting drug strength, frequency of administration or route of administration. Evaluating and ordering clinical laboratory tests related to the drug therapy management for the specific disease or disease state specified within the protocol
  • Ordering or performing routine patient monitoring functions as may be necessary in the drug therapy management, including the collecting and reviewing of patient histories, and ordering or checking patient vital signs, including pulse, temperature, blood pressure and respiration.

Although the bill is limited to academic medical centers, it is a step in the right direction.  Now is a time of unprecedented opportunity for all pharmacists, not only those who practice in academic medical centers. To me, collaboration is more than just forming a team of practitioners, but rather creating an active and ongoing partnership of healthcare and non-healthcare professionals who are committed to the best possible care for patients. No matter what area of pharmacy you practice, collaboration with other health care professionals to provide the optimal outcomes for your patients is inevitable.

In the next 3 years, we have a unique window of opportunity to lay the foundation of our ideal pharmacy practice. We have a responsibility to ourselves, our profession and our patients to take this opportunity and shape the future role of pharmacists in healthcare. To do this, we must make it our mission to branch outside of our comfort zone.

I now challenge each one of you to move pharmacy forward by establishing one new collaborative arrangement at your practice. Team up with a physician to help monitor one patient’s health outcomes. Work with your college or university to add one course about collaborative practice implementation, clinical pharmacy billing and documentation to your curriculum. Ask one patient per day to write to their legislator about the benefit of the services you provide. If each of us in this society acts upon this challenge, we will reach a tipping point. These small steps will accumulate to create an environment for patients, insurers, and prescribers in which these practices will be the norm rather than the exception.

The future of healthcare is right in front of us, and we must form One Team among ourselves, and our colleagues to become the next generation of healthcare professionals practicing not from separate disciplines, but working together, as one, to shape the future of health care.

This is our moment.  The commitment our profession calls for is that each of us becomes an agent of change – to not only have a vision for the future of this profession, but to do what’s necessary to transform that vision into reality; because the question is not whether our profession is going to change, but whether we will step forward to define that change.

I urge you all to BE IN THE CHANGE!

In the fall as I begin my presidency year, I like to start of with an educational program that will provide each one of you (ambassadors of CDTM) the necessary tools needed to make the change. Our industry relations program will be dedicated to CDTM where there will be a detailed overview of the bill and two concurrent workshops on implementation and billing.

In order to get the new practitioners, especially graduating students, residents and fellows to get on board with us to bring forth their innovative ideas to drive CDTM, we need them to be members. Often times, I have heard too many new practitioners say they can’t join NYCSHP or renew their membership because the dues are exorbitant especially when you consider all the other professional organizations they have to sign-up for. It is no secret that every pharmacist here makes more than a six-figure salary. I think it’s about time we bring in a financial guru at one of our membership drives to educate us on financial planning. May be that will help us budget some of our income to include membership with NYCSHP. I am teaming up with Dr. Guo (2011-2012 Treasurer) to bring former-VP of Deustche Bank to our Fall Membership Drive to help us in this regard.

Once they join, I would like to keep their enthusiasm by getting them to be actively involved. I’d like to create an incentive system to encourage active participation.

Over the past years, public health initiatives have been dear to the hearts of my predecessors; it will be no different this year. We have seen increased participation in New York Cares Day and our AIDS and Cancer Walks. The dream lives on!

Our newsletter has been an effective tool for communicating practice information and organizational activities. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Honey, our bulletin editor, for making it happen every quarter. I think the State council website is a good resource for our members to obtain information as well. I believe it is about time we have our own chapter website and not just a page link on the state website. The addition of our “tech wiz” Wilson Tam to our Board will be crucial for this creation.

These are my goals and I hope in a year from now, we will all be able to look back with pride at what we have achieved together as one. When we see each other again, each one of us will have a story to tell.

Regards,
Kwaku Marfo

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