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Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC)

A Collaboration between the American Society of Health System Pharmacists and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education

The Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC) is being formed through a new collaboration between ASHP and ACPE and will serve both boards of directors as the accrediting review committee for pharmacy technician education and training programs. Since 1982, ASHP has served the role of accreditor of such programs and was advised through the work of its Commission on Credentialing. Starting in fall 2014, both ASHP and ACPE Boards of Directors will act on the accreditation recommendations from PTAC.

Since its inception in 1932, ACPE has accredited professional degree programs in pharmacy and plays an important role in assuring the quality of pharmacy education. ASHP has accredited pharmacy technician programs since 1982, serving as the only pharmacy profession programmatic accreditor for technician education and training programs. In 2013, ASHP had 258 programs in the accreditation process. The need for standardized, quality, accredited training of technicians continues to be recognized by employers and pharmacists in all pharmacy settings. Many have suggested that ACPE should be involved in accrediting technician education and training programs, given their role in accrediting Doctor of Pharmacy degree programs. This collaboration brings together ACPE’s expertise along with ASHP’s strength of accrediting pharmacy technician education and training programs to form PTAC and a joint approval process to move the profession forward in addressing pharmacy technician accreditation. The collaboration is a win-win for both technician programs and for those who will benefit from the work of pharmacy technicians. It is believed that ACPE’s involvement in the process will help bring wider acceptance and demand for accredited training across pharmacy and the health care continuum.

The New Commission and the Existing Technician Training Programs

Those programs currently accredited by ASHP will transition over to be granted accreditation by both ASHP and ACPE effective fall 2014. In the beginning programs will remain on their same accreditation cycle (surveyed every six years), and will not need to go through an additional survey or provide an additional report at the beginning of this transition. Programs scheduled for survey through May 31, 2014 will still be reviewed by the ASHP Commission on Credentialing, just prior to the transition to PTAC.

What Will Happen with New Programs or Those Scheduled for Survey After May 2014?

Unaccredited training programs seeking to become accredited will apply for accreditation through a process similar to the past with ASHP, but the accreditation review and recommendation process will be through PTAC instead of the ASHP Commission on Credentialing. Surveys will continue to be scheduled by ASHP, reports will continue to be sent to ASHP, however all accreditation recommendations will be made based on survey findings and recommendations by PTAC. Recommendations from PTAC will be reviewed and approved by both the Board of Directors at ASHP and ACPE. In the interim, programs being surveyed between now and May 31, 2014 will have their accreditation considered by the ASHP Commission on Credentialing. Existing programs that have surveys scheduled after May 2014 will continue as scheduled; however, be reviewed by PTAC.

What Standards Will Be Used by the PTAC?

PTAC will use the ASHP Accreditation Standards for Pharmacy Technician Education and Training Programs (http://www.ashp.org/PharmTechAccred2014 ) approved in April 2013 that go into effect in January 2014. The ACPE Board of Directors has adopted the new ASHP standards to initiate the collaboration. Procedures for accreditation under the new collaboration will be adapted from ASHP’s Regulations on Accreditation of Pharmacy Technician Training Programs. Moving forward, PTAC will revise and update standards and policies/regulations periodically following best practices for accreditation, and eventually will create all changes to the standards and policies/regulations, with approval from the ASHP and ACPE Boards.

What Role Will the ASHP Commission on Credentialing Play with Technician Programs?

The ASHP COC will continue to review technician programs and survey results through August 2014. Following that time, all related accreditation recommendations to both the ASHP and ACPE Boards regarding pharmacy technician programs will be through the PTAC. The ASHP Commission on Credentialing will then only review pharmacy residency programs for accreditation decisions.

What Role Will ASHP Have with the New Commission?

ASHP will continue to schedule accreditation surveys, and prepare information for the Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission. Accreditation fees will continue to be paid to ASHP to run the operations related to accreditation for PTAC. Any inquiries about the pharmacy technician accreditation process can still be sent to ASHP Accreditation Services at ASD@ashp.org. Additionally, since ASHP is part of the collaboration, the ASHP Board of Directors will approve accreditation actions through PTAC instead of the Commission on Credentialing

What Role Will ACPE Have with the New Commission?

ACPE will collaborate with ASHP on the appointment of PTAC members and both organizations will provide staff support and a board liaison for PTAC. ACPE along with ASHP will develop a nominating committee to make recommendations for Commission appointments; will provide communications about PTAC to various stakeholder groups; and provide education to state boards of pharmacy, regulatory bodies or other groups about the value of accreditation in assuring quality pharmacy technician education and training. Like ASHP, the ACPE Board of Directors will need to approve any recommendations made by PTAC.

How Many Commissioners Will be on PTAC?

PTAC will consist of 9 voting members and 3 non-voting members. Members will be considered from pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who bring experience and perspectives from a wide variety of pharmacy practice areas (e.g. community, health-system, long term care), pharmacy technician educators from a variety of settings, pharmacists involved in the regulation of the profession, and a public member. In addition there will be 3 non-voting members: a secretary staff member from ASHP or ACPE, as well as board liaisons from ASHP and ACPE.

How Will Commissioners Be Identified to Become Members of PTAC?

A nominating committee will be made up of 3 ASHP and 3 ACPE appointees. The nominating committee will put forth a slate of candidates for appointment to PTAC, and the individuals must be approved by both the ASHP and ACPE Board of Directors. The nominating committee will seek candidates through a call for names to the general pharmacy community with specific requests to member organizations that are relevant stakeholders (e.g., Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners (JCPP) organizations), and relevant pharmacy technician communities (e.g., Pharmacy Technician Educators Council, and other pharmacy technician organizations).

What Is the Length of Appointment to PTAC?

Full terms will be for three years. Commissioners can be appointed for two terms in a row (i.e., maximum of 6 years). Initially, some Commissioners will be asked to have shortened terms of office, to ensure a manageable roll over of appointees each year.

What Are the Requirements to Be Considered as a Commissioner for PTAC?

Each Commissioner, with the exception of public members, must have expertise and experience in quality assurance of pharmacy technician education and training and/or the contemporary education, training or practice of pharmacy technicians. The ASHP and ACPE Boards will ensure the composition of PTAC reflects a commitment to diversity and geographic representation. All prospective Commissioners will be required to complete a disclosure form for any potential conflicts before they are recommended for appointment or review any programs.

What Functions Will PTAC Have?

All recommendations of PTAC related to the following functions will be approved by both the ASHP and ACPE Board of Directors. PTAC will:
  • Review applications for accreditation of pharmacy technician education and training programs;
  • Evaluate pharmacy technician education and training programs for recommendations on accreditation status;
  • Make recommendations regarding standards, policies and procedures and other matters related to PTAC activities and accreditation services;
  • Assist in strategic planning in matters related to pharmacy technician education and training accreditation;
  • Identify potential activities and collaborative opportunities;
  • Solicit and receive input and advice from other stakeholders to obtain a broad perspective to help assure the quality, validity and improvement of ASHP/ACPE Accreditation Standards, activities and services.

What Responsibilities Will Commissioners Have?

  • Prepare for and participate in PTAC meetings;
  • Ensure effective planning and implementation of the PTAC functions;
  • Participate in on site surveys.

How Often Will PTAC Meet?

PTAC will meet at least twice a year. Infrequently, additional meetings (in person or telephonic) of PTAC may be convened when needed to conduct business.
 
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