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Pharmacy Patient Consultations – Policies and Procedures

Pharmacy Patient Consultations – Policies and Procedures

In the news this week is that Rite Aid Corporation has agreed to settle a lawsuit regarding allegations that it’s pharmacists failed to properly conduct patient consultations. Rite Aid has agreed to pay almost $500,000 plus implement reforms immediately in the chain’s California based stores. According to the lawsuit filed in Riverside, California, an ongoing investigation had revealed that Rite Aid pharmacists neglected to offer and perform one-on-one consultations with patients. This included patients receiving new medicines PLUS patients whose existing prescription medicines had changed.

Lawsuits and settlements regarding failures by pharmacies to properly consult with patients regarding medications is nothing new. We probably all can remember this past December when CVS Pharmacies went through a similar situation. In that case ongoing undercover investigators documented that CVS pharmacies and pharmacists were guilty of offering patient consultations performed by improper personnel. In addition the investigation revealed that in numerous instances the pharmacies did not offer or provide the required consultations at all! As with the case involving Rite Aid Corporation, CVS was cited in the lawsuit for it’s pharmacists frequently failing to provide customer consulting and consultations for brand new prescriptions and for dosage changes of existing prescriptions. As in the Rite Aid case, CVS paid a penalty of over $650,000 plus agreed to a commitment to provide patients appropriate medication counseling that would comply to all legal requirements.

Providing consultation services to patients has become a requirement of doing business for pharmacies and pharmacists. It is a part of the job and in the best interests of the consumers and the public today. Patient consultation to consumers regarding their medications and proper usage is a requirement in many states that cannot be ignored. In Florida, Chapter 465 of the Florida Statutes pertaining to pharmacy clearly states that the pharmacist shall provide counseling on proper drug usage to the patient, either orally or in writing.

Does your pharmacy have written policies and procedures in place regarding patient and medication counseling? Do you ensure that patients have convenient access to speak with the pharmacist regarding their prescriptions? Is your staff properly trained and able to document consultation services provided? If not, then contact HCC today to see how we can help.

Healthcare Consulting has been a full service Pharmacy staffing and consulting firm that has been in business for over 25 years. HCC has been helping pharmacies plan, prepare and deal with issues such as Patient Consultation Services since 1989. Just a few examples of our services include:

– Development of Policies and Procedures
– Employee Training
– Patient Consultation Documentation
– Pharmacy Management Consultation

Although we all hope that we will never personally deal with such situations such as Rite Aide and CVS did, I strongly urge you to be prepared. Contact us on line or call us today for a Free Consultation at 800-642-1653 to discuss how we can help you.

Bob Miller

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Electronic Ordering of Controlled Substances – DEA CSOS Certificates

It seems that everything is moving to the Internet these days utilizing new technologies available to us all. This is especially true in the Pharmacy business, which has always been a healthcare frontrunner in regards to technology. One area that has been of concern to many of our pharmacy clients involves the growing utilization of electronic ordering of controlled substances. To participate a pharmacy must obtain a DEA CSOS certificate. The CSOS certificate establishes a digital pharmacy identity and becomes the online equivalent of the standard DEA Form-222 that we are all familiar with. This certification allows the pharmacy to order controlled substances (Schedules I through IV) electronically or online.

The reasons for obtain such a certificate are numerous. Several include:

  • Reduction of ordering errors
  • Vastly reduced paperwork necessary in ordering of controlled substances
  • Faster transaction times
  • Lowered costs per transaction
  • Vast improvement regarding inventory control
  • Easier record keeping and documentation for audit purposes

But obtaining a DEA CSOS brings up many questions. A few that many ask include:

  • How do I get a CSOS certificate?
  • Are there fees involved in obtaining the certificate?
  • What are the differences in the types of the CSOS certificates?
  • What do the terms “CSOS Subscriber” and “CSOS Applicant” mean?
  • How do I apply for multiple certificates if I own several pharmacies?

These are just a few of the questions that clients ask. If you have such questions and would like to learn more regarding obtaining and properly using the electronic ordering of controlled substances for your business, call us today for a free consultation. Healthcare Consulting has been a full service Pharmacy staffing and consulting firm that has been in business since 1989. We have helped numerous pharmacies get answers.

In addition, we can help you with the following services that we offer:

  • Consulting for both hospital and retail pharmacy technological advancements
  • Development of Policy & Procedures
  • Review of existing Policy & Procedures
  • Preparation for DEA audits (including mock audits)

If you are a pharmacy considering implementing the online ordering ordering of controlled substances by obtaining a CSOS certificate, contact us on line or call us today for a Free Consultation at 800-642-165 to discuss how we can help you.

Bob Miller

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Pharmacy Security – Establish Policies and Procedures

Pharmacies have always been a target for burglaries and robberies. As a pharmacist myself I have often realized that this is a possibility and a risk that everyone in our profession must face. We may all do our best to put it out of our focus and concentrate on our day-to-day daily routines while at work. We sometimes think that although the possibility exists, this is something that happens frequently but not to us!

Yet recently it seems that all the pharmacy news we read is filled with an increase of stories regarding burglaries and robberies of pharmacies. In the past month alone I have seen almost daily reports of pharmacy break-ins and burglaries. Just a few examples in the past weeks alone include:

– In College Station, Texas the Scott and White Pharmacy was broken into twice in two days earlier this week. Both break-ins occurred in the early morning while the pharmacy was closed.
– In Palm Bay, Florida a suspect robbed two retail pharmacies (a Walgreen’s and a CVS) by entering the stores during daylight hours and demanding prescription pain killers and other narcotics.
– Less than a week ago a pair of armed robbers took over a pharmacy in Houston, Texas and proceeded to terrorize two employees inside the pharmacy. They burst into the pharmacy with guns and demanded money and drugs.

Although not a break-in or robbery, another related incident occurred earlier this week in New Hampshire involving bomb threats to a retail pharmacy. The CVS pharmacy in Hooksett received two bomb threats this past Wednesday that forced the store into an emergency situation that included closing the store, evacuation of staff and customers, plus a search by the New Hampshire State Police Explosives Disposal Unit.

Are you and your pharmacy prepared to deal with situations like these? As I stated earlier, no-one thinks that these situations will happen to us or our pharmacy businesses, but these are truly examples of the old cliche “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” being applicable. Do you have policies and procedures written for your business and employees to act on if such a crisis arises? Do you have inventory policies in place to help determine what was taken during a burglary? Do you have training in place to help your employees in these situations that will minimize your possible liabilities? If the answers are no, then contact HCC Pharmacy Staffing to see how we can help you.

Healthcare Consulting has been a full service Pharmacy staffing and consulting firm that has been in business for over 25 years. HCC has been helping pharmacies plan, prepare and deal with such crisis situations since 1989. Just a few examples of our services include:

– Development of Policies and Procedures
– Employee Crisis Training
– Inventory Management
– Pharmacy Management Consultation

Although we all hope that we will never personally deal with such situations, I strongly urge you to be prepared. Contact us on line or call us today for a Free Consultation at 800-642-1652 to discuss how we can help you.

Bob Miller

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New Technology in Pharmacy

New technology is appearing everywhere these days, so of course we see it in the field of pharmacy. Although many of us will not actually deal with some of this new technology for years to come, it is a very exciting time in the field of pharmacy. Pharmacy has always been seen as a profession at the forefront in the embracement and implementation of new technology. Just a few examples that have recently appeared in the news include:

– A new automated robotic system to prepare IV and single-use syringe medications being implemented in hospitals across the nation. The Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt recently became the first children’s hospital in Tennessee to implement this new technology. The new system (marketed as i.v.STATION) ensures that medications are produced in an almost “futuristic” sterile environment to protect their quality and the health of the patients. Vanderbilt is one of a group of hospitals implementing this new technology (the third in the Southeast so far) and many predict this advanced technology will dominate IV production in the near future.

– The growth of next-generation technologies in the automation of the Pharmacy industry. The incorporation of various next-generation technology in automated dispensing machines seems to be the trend that many are taking. Some of the major technologies being seen include bar code scanners, RFID tags, automated canister recognition systems, and special tray systems.

Keeping up with the new technological advances seems like a full time job to many of us trying to focus on running our businesses on a daily basis. Yet we cannot afford to ignore it. Healthcare Consulting has been a full service Pharmacy staffing and consulting firm that has been in business since 1989. We have been involved in many situations involving the planning and implementation of Pharmacy technology over the years. Our services include:

– Planning and implementation of new technology
– Consulting for both hospital and retail pharmacy regarding technological advancements
– Development of Policy & Procedures
– Review of existing Policy & Procedures

If you are a pharmacy considering implementing new technology in your business, contact us on line or call us today for a Free Consultation at 800-642-1652 to discuss how we can help you.

If you are a pharmacist looking for a position dealing with new technology….. we can help you also! HCC has been involved in the temporary staffing, direct hire and permanent placement of pharmacists in various specialties for over 25 years. We urge you to contact us today and discuss what positions we have available to meet your needs.

Bob Miller

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Considering Moving Your Pharmacy to a New Location?

Several pharmacies have recently moved into new locations:

– Medicap Pharmacy in Urbandale, Iowa moved into a new building this past February. The new building is about three times larger than the old one and the new space allowed for an expanded selection of over the counter medications, diabetic shoes and cholesterol and bone density screenings. The additional space also allowed for the pharmacy’s compounding business (which was previously housed separately) to be moved into the new building.

– Varnum’s Pharmacy in New Canaan, Connecticut recently moved to a new location last month. According to owner Dorrie Plotkin, Varnum’s is the longest continuously operating pharmacy in the nation (established in 1854). The choice that was faced was renovating the existing space versus moving to a new location. The newly renovated space has all new fixtures and allows room for additional products. Two of the primary reasons that Varnum’s chose moving over renovating the existing pharmacy space were increased parking and no down-time for a better customer experience.

– Kenmore Rx Center in Delaware also moved into a new facility recently. An independent pharmacy for over 47 years, the move matched the owner’s business plan to continue growing. Owner Martin Pietruszewski stated that they simply need more space for growth. He wanted to bring install a “proper, full-blown lab” plus bring in other additional services that the old location simply did have enough space to allow for. Another major factor in his decision to move was the central location that allowed increased visibility to consumers and the community.

Although relocation may seem an overwhelming task, many pharmacy owners are choosing it over renovation. Choosing the new location can be one of the most important decisions that you can make. Planning space requirements for your existing operations plus future growth can make all the difference between a successful relocation and a failure.

Healthcare Consultants has been helping pharmacies plan and execute the move to new locations for over 25 years. From the initial planning stages to the actual relocation, we can ensure that your goals are met and that the experience is a great one for you, your employees and your customers! Contact us on line or call us today for a Free Consultation at 800-642-1652 to discuss how we can help you successfully move your existing pharmacy to a better location!

Bob Miller

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Is Your Pharmacy Prepared for a Crisis or Emergency?

Most of the Pharmacies that we deal with are busy dealing with the day-to-day business of making a living. Filling prescriptions, compounding IV’s, consulting with patients and all the other tasks that our jobs require us to deal with us on a daily basis. Are you and your pharmacy business prepared to deal with an unexpected crisis or emergency that could potentially shut you down and threaten your reputation or livelihood?

Several recent examples to consider took place last week around the nation.

In a bizarre incident in Flatwoods, Kentucky, Stultz pharmacy had to deal with the crisis of a sports utility vehicle crashing through the store’s front doors earlier this week. A new drive-through system was implemented to accommodate customers, but business was interrupted for a time as the contingency plan was developed and implemented.

Another truly tragic event was the shooting and death of a Rite-Aid pharmacist in Lansing, Michigan this past week. The pharmacy was closed for 4 full days out of respect for the tragedy, but also due to lack of a replacement according to sources.

Lastly was the surprise site visit from personnel from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to Weatherford Compounding Pharmacy in Fort Worth, Texas last week. Although certain items were confiscated during the visit, business was ultimately not interrupted. Yet, the possibility existed if violations had been found.

These are simply three examples of Pharmacy businesses having to deal with unexpected & sometimes tragic emergencies. Are you and your Pharmacy prepared? Healthcare Consultants has been helping pharmacies plan, prepare for and deal with emergencies since 1989. Just a few of the services that we offer include:

– Pharmacist staffing (temporary, vacation & fill-in coverage)
– Equipment needs assessment
– Audit preparation
– Compliance reviews
– Policy & Procedure review and recommendations

Don’t let potential issues and problems develop into serious threats to your pharmacy! As the old cliché says: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Contact us on line or call us today for a Free Consultation at 800-642-1652 to discuss how we can help!

Bob Miller

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Compliance Review for Compounding Pharmacies

Compliance to USP 797 regarding Pharmacy Compounding is becoming an increasingly important issue for all compounding pharmacies to address as quickly as possible. Actions proposed recently by the Michigan legislature may be just the beginning of things to come. Directly related to the 2012 meningitis outbreak that has been linked to the now defunct New England Compounding Center (NECC), the Michigan Senate is considering a bill for additional compliance regulations for compounding pharmacies that even includes increased criminal penalties for many violations. Particulars of the proposed bill include:

–  Increased record keeping requirements
–  Mandatory bi-annual inspections
–  Designated Pharmacist In Charge at the facility
–  Ongoing licensing and accreditation requirements

In addition to the increased costs this legislation will cause to compounding pharmacies, there are several proposed punitive additions to the laws that must be considered:

–  Immediate suspension of the compounding pharmacy’s license upon notice of an imminent risk to public safety
– Civil penalties for offenses that include up to a 4 year prison sentence for violations that cause personal injury to consumers (and up to 15 years for infractions causing death).

Various studies to date have shown that many compounding pharmacies have been slow to react to the guidelines of US797 regarding compliance. The most often cited reasons include:

– Leadership’s lack of knowledge &/or support
– Financial and budgetary restrictions
– Physical plant limitations
– Lack of available training & competency resources
– Time required to implement changes

If you are a compounding pharmacy, the time to get into compliance is now! Do not let small issues with regulatory compliance turn into serious threats to YOUR pharmacy. Be pro-active regarding the requirements to the USP 797 guidelines. Healthcare Consultants has been helping pharmacies since 1989. Let us help you ensure that your compounding pharmacy has no issues by contacting us today for a complete Compliance Review. Reach us online or call today at 800-642-1652.

Bob Miller

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