July 16, 2020
While the 2020 state legislative session concentrated largely on budgetary and other concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, TPA has never stopped working behind the scenes to advocate for pharmacy. We hope you and your practice are benefiting from our efforts to keep members up-to-date about changes in practice requirements and recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and you might be aware that TPA was one of the first state pharmacy associations to conduct a multi-day, multifaceted convention in a virtual setting, safely bringing members together to socialize, honor pharmacy excellence and leadership, and earn up to 18.5 CE hours.
But we’ve been able to do much more, with the help and support of our members. Here are some of our most important pharmacy practice advancements in 2020—and we’re just getting started.
- Advocacy for Regulatory Flexibility and Executive Orders to Support Pharmacists and Pharmacy Team Members in Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic. TPA continues to work with members of the Governor’s administration, Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Board of Pharmacy, Tennessee General Assembly, and numerous advocacy organizations to successfully advocate for important pharmacy flexibilities, including pharmacist-initiated 90-day supplies of medications, remote verification by pharmacists and technicians, pharmacist-provided telehealth services, suspension of the pharmacist-to-technician ratio, suspension of routine pharmacy Board inspections, and suspension of routine PBM audits of pharmacies. These regulatory changes have been vital in ensuring that patients do not experience disruptions in access to medication therapies and pharmacist-provided care and services during the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Innovative Education and Training Programs Focused on Pharmacy Practice Advancement. In 2020, TPA rolled out several new training programs for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians:
- TPA, through the Tennessee Pharmacists Research and Education Foundation (TPREF), released the Clinical Pharmacy Pathway Certificate Training Program to provide education and training to pharmacists in the areas of cardiology, endocrinology, pulmonology, medical credentialing, contracting, and billing. In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), this program is intended to assist pharmacists in positioning themselves as providers of care and services.
- TPA is offering the Technician Product Verification Training Module, a program approved by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). This program can lead pharmacy technicians to receive the Technician Product Verification Certificate from PTCB, which is a step toward earning an Advanced Pharmacy Technician credential. As pharmacists implement new services through collaborative practice, pharmacy technicians will need to be empowered to take on greater roles in pharmacy practice as well.
- TPA continues to work with pharmacies on the Community Pharmacy Transformation (CPhT) pilot project approved through the Tennessee Board of Pharmacy. This pilot project retools the community pharmacy workflow to free up community pharmacists to provide clinical services by delegating the technical task of product verification to certified and advance-trained pharmacy technicians.
- Addition of Practice-Specific Resources Related to Patient Care Services. We continue to expand our resources to support members in providing a broader range of services to patients:
- TPA’s online Practice-Based Resource Pages for members provide the knowledge and tools pharmacists need to become more involved in patient care and to collaborate with other health care providers. Covering 10 major topic areas in depth, our latest additions include COVID-19, MTM in Medicaid, and Pharmacist Credentialing, Contracting, and Billing.
- The Tennessee Handbook on Pharmacy and Drug Law is a compilation of Tennessee and federal laws affecting pharmacy in our state. Published by the Tennessee Pharmacists Research and Education Foundation and updated every year since 2008, the Handbook is a word-searchable and printable digital download/ebook.
- The Tennessee Pharmacy Practice Guidebook is a brand-new reference book for Tennessee pharmacy professionals interested in learning why documentation is so critical for reimbursement and audit mitigation; how to utilize different billing methods; and how to utilize appropriate billing codes within a pharmacist’s scope of practice. It includes documentation for time and complexity-based billing methods, CPT® and ICD-10 Diagnosis codes for claims submission, and case studies showing how to translate documentation to billing code.
- TPA has created a web-based educational training program to support pharmacists in developing a patient-centered pharmacy practice. Building a Patient-Centered Practice: Collaborative Practice, Credentialing and Provider Enrollment, and Opportunities for Pharmacists provides (3) hours of ACPE-accredited continuing education focused on key aspects of pharmacy practice development.
These advancements cannot happen without members’ support, engagement and advocacy, and we want to make sure you know how much we appreciate everything you do for patients and the pharmacy profession!
If you would like additional information about the advancements listed on this page, please contact TPA. We’d love to hear from you!