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School Receives License for Nondispensing Pharmacy

The Washington State Department of Health Board of Pharmacy recently granted the UW School of Pharmacy a license to open a nondispensing, medication-therapy-management (MTM) pharmacy. It is the first of its kind in Washington state.

This new pharmacy is an integral component of the Department of Pharmacy’s effort to develop an MTM training program within the School. MTM is a service that pharmacists provide to high-risk patients — in which they work with clients to help them improve their medication and general health regimens.

Drs. Annie Lam and Peggy Odegard, named Herb and Shirley Bridge endowed professors this past fall, are using the funds from the professorship to create this program. Lam and Odegard saw a need for it after learning that some Washington pharmacists have been overwhelmed by MTM requests since Medicare Part D went into effect in January 2006. Given that pharmacy students have also requested MTM training in recent years, this seemed like the right time to pursue this project.

Under Medicare Part D, certain beneficiaries who spend more than $4,000 on annual prescription drugs and who have multiple chronic diseases qualify for billable MTM services. The School is collaborating with the Washington State Pharmacy Association to bridge the service gap for practitioners who have more requests for these Medicare-related services than they can satisfy. Ultimately, the program seeks to help community pharmacists meet the demand while also creating an effective teaching resource for the School of Pharmacy.

“Our goal is not to be competitive with our professional colleagues who are practicing pharmacists, but rather to provide them with MTM support while also assuring our graduates are well-prepared to provide these services,” says Odegard.

The School of Pharmacy’s MTM program will focus on three primary areas — implementing an MTM curriculum for students, creating an onsite MTM consulting service, and conducting research.

Some of the initial research, says Odegard, will assess best practices for pharmacists providing these services to older adults.

If all goes according to plan, the School will begin offering the training classes to students this fall.

June 12, 2008


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