We’d like to introduce you to Dr. Matthew McClure. Our first two interviews – Dr. Amy Panza and Dr. Blair Thielemier – focused on established pharmacists and their new, creative practice models. In this interview, we asked Dr. McClure to share his views and insights as a newly practicing pharmacist.

You recently graduated and received your Pharm.D. Tell us about the practice setting you chose and why.

I applied for and received a residency with Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho.  It is a one-year residency focusing on general hospital practice.  I’m hoping that this residency will provide me with easier and quicker access to board certification to maximize my educational potential and make me a more competitive job candidate in the future.  I’m also hoping that the residency will provide me with crucial networking in a different market outside of Colorado to help me secure a good pharmacy position afterwards in Idaho.

What opportunities for the future do you see in your practice setting?  Why?  How will those manifest? How do you plan to take advantage of those opportunities?

I chose to focus on hospital practice because there are quickly growing opportunities for a pharmacist to practice in an enhanced clinical capacity outside of the traditional dispensing model.  As insurers and Medicare start imposing stiff reimbursement penalties for outcomes, hospitals have been growing larger and incorporating larger shares of patient services that focus on health before and outside the hospital.  Pharmacists have an opportunity to provide their services to these organizations.  Right now, it is mostly as a cost saving mechanism by optimizing outcomes post discharge, but in the future we should be able to bill for these services as practitioners.

What opportunities do you see in pharmacy in general?   How are those opportunities manifesting?

There is an opportunity in pharmacy to get involved in organizations that are focused on improving outcomes in novel ways.  The patient centered medical home model is an example of this opportunity.  However, what is holding us back is the ability to bill directly for these services, which inherently limits our ability to provide these services to patients unless the organization is large enough to support a pharmacist on staff.

What legislative (rules, regs) challenges are impacting pharmacists the most?  In  your practice setting?
National?  State?  Why?

Provider status legislative rules are the most obvious big impact legislation for pharmacy moving forward.  However, some of these rules are weak or only allow us some small freedoms to dispense medications with less paperwork (birth control, travel medications etc.)  What we should be striving for, as a profession is the ability to bill and be reimbursed for our clinical services as independent practitioners.  I’m not necessarily advocating for prescribing rights, but as a profession we lack the ability to bill and be paid directly for cognitive services with many insurers and government programs.  MTM was supposed to achieve this, but with its current implementation, in my opinion, it is not producing the quality outcomes that were desired.  When we establish the ability to be paid for all our cognitive services it will elevate the profession in the sense that our ability to generate revenue is not tied directly to a commodity based service (selling prescriptions).  There have been some examples.  In Washington State they have had provider status for several years, but they recently just passed another law that requires insurers to actually compensate when services were delivered by pharmacists versus traditional providers (MD, PA, NP etc.).  It is not only about money.  When we are allowed to bill for our services in an easy fashion we are actually able to be closer to patients because we have an opportunity to start offering these services on a more widespread basis.  This is really an issue about patient access to critical pharmacy services.

How can advocates and organizations such as Value Pharmacists help you and your practice?

Networking, lobbying on focused initiatives for greater autonomy as a profession, providing education of these lobbying efforts to the greater pharmacy population.

If you’d like to hear more, contact Matthew McClure Pharm.D. at Matthew.McClure@saintalphonsus.org.

Our highlighted text features what new practitioners may be looking for in their practice. How will your pharmacy incorporate them?  Share your ideas below and thanks for reading!

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