Decision Time

      Americans are about to hit the polls and choose who we want to be the leader of our nation for the next four years.  And just like that critical decision for the country, the profession of pharmacy has some decisions it faces as well. 

      The parallels may not be obvious to those that aren’t paying attention.  But the profession of pharmacy is at a point now where there are some tough decisions in front of us. 

       Just like the decision for the presidency, pharmacy has a couple of critical choices to make.  Do we continue with the status quo or is change warranted? 

       The political elections may impact the future of our healthcare system.  But for pharmacists, the decisions we make now about our own path will shape our relationship with patients and other practitioners for decades to come. 

       Should pharmacists push for more clinical responsibilities?  Do we deserve expanded prescriptive authority?  Will we push our profession forward or be satisfied with where we are at now? 

        It’s difficult even as an insider to predict the answers to those questions.  But what I do know is that we face some mounting challenges that aren’t going away any time soon. 

         The influence of the insurance industry and specifically the pharmacy benefit management (PBM) world is obvious.  The employment dynamics that can change in response to supply and demand factors affects all of us and our ability to find work. 

         And what about politics and the role of government in healthcare?  That question will hardly be answered after the election is over.  If anything, the outcome of the political elections will bring on a new set of questions. 

         In some ways pharmacists have come a long way to expand our provider footprint.  In other ways, we’ve all but taken steps backwards and devolved as providers. 

         Pharmacy is a strong and proud profession made up of dedicated individuals who want to help patients and improve outcomes.  But we aren’t always allowed the ability or means to do so under current conditions. 

         And as the supply of pharmacists increase, individual practitioners are less likely to rock the boat to implement change out of fear of losing employment.  We become crippled to facilitate change even if the motivation for change is there. 

        I think each of us within this great profession needs to honestly evaluate where we are and where we want to go.  Do we want things to continue as is or are major changes warranted? 

        As with the political elections, the ultimate decision lies with the people.  But unlike voting for a president, there is no formal election for the profession of pharmacy. 

        We are all in this together.  It is time we honestly ask ourselves what the profession of pharmacy means to each of us and what we want to get out of it. 

         It is decision time for the profession of pharmacy.  We are searching for the direction of our future just like our country is deciding who must lead it’s citizens.

        Will we have the courage to face our challenges?  Will we have leaders within our ranks that push us forward to the next chapter of the profession of pharmacy? 

         Unfortunately, I have more questions than answers.  I wish I did have all the answers.  But I do know this- it is decision time. 

The Redheaded Pharmacist

1 Comment to “Decision Time”

  1. By Pharmaciststeve, November 7, 2012 @ 10:21 pm

    The future of pharmacy may have now been decided.. Obamacare is a absolute starting in 2014. Many senior physician have stated that they are going to retire early if they had to deal with Obamacare. We already have a growing shortage of GP/FP’s… and before this.. we were losing two of these MD’s to retirement for every one starting practice.
    Some mighty big employers Darden ( Red Lobster, Longhorn, Olive Garden) are already experimenting with 29 hr work week for all employees so that the employer does not have to bear the cost of Obamacare.. does this mean that we are going to have more people under employed… on Medicaid… on food stamps.. which could throw a huge financial burden to the states… could they take the path that Texas did recently and turned their whole Medicaid population over to HMO/managed care. First thing they did was slash pharmacy reimbursement.
    30-50 million more in the health care system and many senior physicians retiring early?
    who is going to see these people… for simple things… who is going to educate and monitor their drug therapy??
    ACO’s are going to be the foundation of Obamacare… whose goal will be to keep people out of the hospitals.. most likely the ACO’s will be paid on a capitation basis.. for taking care of a certain pt base…
    Are people in our society going to accept long waits to see a healthcare professional because of this healthcare professional shortage ?
    No surplus of NP, ARNP, PA… who could fill these shoes?


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