Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pharmacists get paid more for consultations

From the (Nashville) Tennessean:
A push by Medicare and other insurers to control patients' misuse of medications as a way to cut unnecessary drug costs has given many pharmacists a chance to make additional money by getting paid for in-depth consultations or other extra services.

Kroger, for instance, is training more pharmacists to handle up to one-hour consultations with patients that it began offering members of sponsoring health plans two years ago. As profit margins shrink, the new fees could help pharmacists develop another stable source of revenue.

Already, health plans are required to offer such pharmacist-patient chats to members enrolled in private Medicare plans known as Medicare Advantage. Those conversations can produce fees of $160 for up to one-hour conversations covering a patient's medical background and other services.

Other pharmacists perform extras for patients, including packaging patients' drugs in ready-to-use individual dosages to reduce the chances of a patient's taking too many pills or the wrong ones.

"You've got to find creative niches to stay alive," said W. Shane Reeves, co-owner of Reeves-Sain Drug Store, a small Murfreesboro pharmacy chain with two stores. ...more

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