Pharmacists can greatly improve patient outcomes and help reduce costs when participating in interdisciplinary health care teams, states a new paper (PDF) from the National Governors Association (NGA). However, many state laws and regulations prevent pharmacists from being able to practice “to the full scope of their professional training,” the NGA reports. The association suggests that states “seeking to integrate pharmacists more fully into the health care delivery system can examine state laws and regulations governing the profession.” NGA identified three areas that can be considered:
- Laws and regulations that guide collaborative practice agreements
- Recognition of pharmacists as health care providers to ensure compensation
- Pharmacists’ access to health information technology systems
The paper highlights Minnesota as one example of a state with regulations that support pharmacist-delivered services for chronically ill patients. In 2005, the state started covering medication therapy management for patients in Medicaid and state employee health programs. An evaluation of the initiative showed that participating pharmacists identified and resolved 587 drug therapy problems in the first year of the program.