November 25, 2015
“Pharmacist services lead to lower costs for the health care system, and provider status would bring pharmacists a step closer to more comprehensively providing those services,” Kylee Funk, PharmD'12 said.

“Mike” was taking multiple psychiatric medications when the psychiatrist who was managing him took an extended leave of absence. Mike didn’t have a primary care physician, and suddenly, he was without mental health care as well. He made an appointment at University of Minnesota Health Nurse Practitioners Clinic, where he saw a team of providers. 

“We commonly perform team visits where we go in the room together. The nurse practitioner performs the physical exam, and I am an integral part of the medication management,” said Kylee Funk, PharmD'12, the team pharmacist at the clinic. “The nurse practitioners in the clinic also send me referrals for patients who need medication management.”

Funk can help patients like Mike because she and Mike live in Minnesota, where pharmacists are recognized as health care providers. Pharmacists in Minnesota can bill Medicaid and other payers for certain patient care services. Though patients like Mike, who take multiple chronic medications and could benefit from monitoring by a medication expert, reside in all 50 states, not all states consider pharmacists to be health care providers. In those states, it’s far more difficult for a complex patient to get care from a pharmacist.

“If pharmacists had federal provider status, we could bill on a routine basis. It is often difficult for a clinic to support the salary of a pharmacist who can’t bill consistently for services,” Funk said.

Read the fulll story here