Total Pharmacy Solutions Summit: A Day of Education for Independent Pharmacists

Thoughts leaders from across the community and independent pharmacy spaces came together for a day of education and insight.

An all-star slate of speakers and panelists from across the community and independent pharmacy space came together virtually on April 30 as Drug Topics® and Total Pharmacy® held the first Total Pharmacy Solutions Summit of 2022.

Keynote Address

Steven F. Moore, PharmD, vice president of Condo Pharmacy in Plattsburgh, New York, and a Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network (CPESN) Luminary, kicked off the day with his keynote address. Moore shared some of the strategies Condo Pharmacy has implemented to expand their point- of-care testing capabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When we started hearing about COVID-19 [about] 2 and a half years ago, one of the things we were concerned about at the pharmacy was, how do we keep the pharmacy open? What is it we can do to continue to be here for our patients?”

Moore and his staff turned to point-of-care testing, which would include COVID-19 rapid antigen tests-a value to the community and to the Condo Pharmacy staff, who couldn’t afford to wait days for laboratory test results.

“Here in New York, we started working through CPESN New York... with the state of New York because, believe it or not, prior to COVID-19, pharmacists didn’t necessarily have the scope of practice rights to do [Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments]-waived testing,” he said. “It wasn’t part of our scope...but we quickly realized, ‘Hey, we have 5500 community pharmacies here in New York, and we need to test people.’”

“Thankfully, the governor did recognize that and moved to remove some of those barriers and obstacles that we had to testing, so we could start to do that,” he added.

Expanding on Point-of-Care Testing

Paige Clark, RPh, vice president of pharmacy programs and policy at Prescryptive Health, further expanded on the importance of, and trends in, point-of-care testing.

“Prescryptive is all about being your partner to provide...that connection to patients. It’s imperative that we continue to move quickly in this space; we can’t stand back and watch. We have to capture this space,” she said.

Clark also touched on scope of practice expansion for pharmacists, citing the Biden administration’s Test to Treat program, announced on March 1, 2022, as an example of scope of practice expansion. “Is [the program] perfect today? It is not. But I think what that signals to us is an enormous recognition on the part of the federal government, and entities within the federal government, that our community pharmacies are absolutely a necessary access point for public health across this nation,” she said.

Employee Retention

Lisa Faast, PharmD, founder and CEO of DiversifyRx, the Pharmacy Profit Summit, and Pharmacy Badass University, was next to take the stage, with a presentation on attracting and retaining employees in today’s job market.

“As pharmacy owners...we’d love to offer our employees unlimited benefits and unlimited salaries, but unfortunately, we live in the real world where things are restricted,” Faast said. “You have to be able to adjust the benefits— and these benefits are in your control.”

These benefits, she explained, include things like salary, commissions, bonuses, paid time off, insurance, scheduling, title and position, and other perks. These benefits are things that pharmacy owners can control, and need not be offered all at once. “Not all employees care about the same benefits,” she said. “If one goes up—say you increase the hourly rate— maybe another one comes down to adjust for that.”

Closing Roundtable

The day concluded with a round table discussion, moderated by Mohamed A. Jalloh, PharmD, BCPS, assistant professor in the clinical sciences department at Touro University California College of Pharmacy in Vallejo and Drug Topics® Editorial Advisory Board member. Jalloh was joined by Bill Holmes, MBA,vCEO of RxSafe; Kevin Russell, RPh, MBA, BCACP, director of pharmacy for clinical operations at Prescryptive Health; and Moore, who returned to join the panel discussion.

“We’ve seen that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how important pharmacists can be with point-of-care testing,” said Jalloh. “To my panelists, my first question is, how do you envision the future of pharmacy, specifically in the context of point-of-care testing, after COVID-19?”

“We have to protect the existence of independent retail pharmacies,” said Holmes. “Ninety-five percent of people...are within 5 minutes of one of these stores. If they go away, there would be a devastating effect. Just imagine COVID-19 without independ- ent retail pharmacies. We have to work together; we have to use these new ideas to create improved economic health of independent pharmacies.”