Sunday, August 5, 2012

Retail adventures

Posted by Michelle at Sunday, August 05, 2012

Hello all! Michelle here, reporting in post retail rotation. I spent the last 5 weeks at HomeTown Pharmacy, a midsize chain which owns a number of formerly independent pharmacies and attempts to maintain that feel in their stores. I enjoyed my time there and had some unique experiences one might not find at a major chain.

1. Medication therapy managment programs and heart failure study – My store chose to participate in a Medicare Part D MTM program with Mirixa ( This program allows us to contact patients associated with Mirixa’s Part D program, offer MTM services if the patient wishes to receive them, and then be reimbursed for our efforts toward improving the patient’s medication use and health outcomes. Cool! Additionally, my store also conducted a “One-Minute Clinic” on heart failure designed by COP professor Dr. Bleske. This was a quick survey performed in person or via phone that asked patients questions about key symptoms of worsening heart failure – fluid retention, shortness of breath, fatigue, etc. The goal was to identify patients with deteriorating HF and encourage them to see a physician *before* an ER visit is necessary. Cool part deux!

2. Audits – I heard a great deal about audits on my previous admin rotation, but I had the opportunity to actually witness two in person during this rotation. One of our pharmacies was audited by Medicaid/State of Michigan; I spent the day pulling boxes of old records and sorting through them to find select prescriptions for costly drugs like Abilify. The auditing pharmacist gave some insights on the minutiae of auditing – if you didn’t write “per Doc” on a telephone prescription received from the actual physician and not the nurse/secretary, you could be out your reimbursement.

3. DME! – Our store had a significant durable medical equipment business, and I assisted with this aspect of pharmacy by helping patients choose between three different models of Bayer diabetic meters and then processing some of the billing, which is much more complicated than a prescription. Our second audit by the National Boards of Pharmacy focused largely on this aspect of our sales and certified that we were meeting CMS standards for DME.

That about sums it up! My rotation was also full of the regular retail routine, filling scripts, solving insurance issues, Zostavax immunizations, etc. The patient counseling is always my favorite part – it is the best sort of feeling to help out a patient who is looking confused in the OTC aisle. ‘Til next time – valete omnes!

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