The American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), American Pharmacists Association (APhA), and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) have partnered to submit a petition to the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) seeking recognition of critical care pharmacy practice as a specialty in pharmacy.
The three national pharmacist organizations provided a detailed case for specialty recognition by citing the highly complex needs of critically ill or critically injured patients who require intensive care, usually with life and death consequences. The petitioners urge board recognition because the complexity of critical illnesses requires that patients have access to the expertise of a critical care pharmacist specialist who brings a deep understanding of how drugs function and interact in critically ill patients.
Each year in the United States, five million patients of all ages become critically ill or are critically injured and require intensive care through medical, surgical, or specialty intensive care units in hospitals, trauma centers, and health systems. Medication management of these patients requires the application of specialized knowledge and skill across a wide range of disease states, which often present at the most extreme ends of the spectrum. These skills must be coupled with an in-depth understanding of the differences between critically and non-critically ill patients, as well as the management of common disease states under uncommon circumstances.
In their petition, the organizations addressed the seven required BPS criteria, including the need and demand for recognition; the number of pharmacists who devote most of their time to critical care practice, which the organizations estimated as being at least between 6,000 to 7,000; and the education, training and experience required of critical care pharmacists.
ASHP will host a BPS open hearing on the petition, as well as another petition for a pediatric specialty, on Tuesday, December 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at its Midyear Clinical Meeting in Las Vegas. This open hearing is part of BPS’s public comment period soliciting input from the pharmacy profession, other health professions, third-party payers, and the public in support or in opposition to these petitions. BPS will consider the comments from this hearing in their deliberations along with the evidence presented by the petitioning organizations to meet the criteria to recognize a new pharmacy specialty.
ASHP is the national professional organization whose nearly 40,000 members include pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy students who provide patient care services in hospitals, health systems, and ambulatory clinics. For 70 years, the Society has been on the forefront of efforts to improve medication use and enhance patient safety. For more information about the wide array of ASHP activities and the many ways in which pharmacists help people make the best use of medicines, visit ASHP's website,
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The American College of Clinical Pharmacy represents more than 14,000 clinical pharmacist practitioners, researchers, and educators. Its purpose is to advance human health by extending the frontiers of clinical pharmacy. Through strategic initiatives, partnerships, collaborations, and alliances, ACCP:
Provides leadership, professional development, advocacy, and resources that enable clinical pharmacists to achieve excellence in practice, research, and education.
Advances clinical pharmacy and pharmacotherapy through support and promotion of research, training, and education.
Promotes innovative science, develops successful models of practice, and disseminates new knowledge to advance pharmacotherapy and patient care.
The American Pharmacists Association, founded in 1852 as the American Pharmaceutical Association, is a 501 (c)(6) organization, representing more than 62,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and others interested in advancing the profession. APhA, dedicated to helping all pharmacists improve medication use and advance patient care, is the first-established and largest association of pharmacists in the United States.