Credentials: BS Pharmacy, Doctor of Pharmacy, Masters in Business Administration
Position/Title: National Director, Pharmacy Services
Organization: Critical Care Systems (a division of Medco Health Services)
Primary Specialty: Home Care
Specialties: Acute Home Infusion Therapy, Anti-infectives, Parenteral nutrition
I received my BS in Pharmacy (1979) and Doctor of Pharmacy (1981) from the University of Michigan, College of Pharmacy located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Masters in Business Administration was obtained in 1991 from Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, Ohio.
Type of Patient Population Served
Home care pharmacists work closely with physicians to clinically manage patients with the following complex disease states: autoimmune disorders; cancer; chronic heart failure; infectious diseases; nutritional disorders; primary immune deficiencies; rheumatoid arthritis; and pre- and post-transplant support.
Roles and Responsibilities
Working with a multi-disciplinary team comprised of nurses, reimbursement specialists, pharmacy technicians, customer services reps, and dietitians; the pharmacist oversees and directs the care of the patient in their home. Orders are received, appropriate dosing decisions made (e.g., what is the best methodology for administration), drugs are prepared, and services are set up and coordinated. The pharmacist must work with the physician to ensure that the therapy is correct; the administration methodology works for the patient; and appropriate labs and monitoring parameters are defined. Care plans are developed; laboratory results are monitored, and followed up with accordingly. Patient contact is done on a regular basis to ascertain compliance to the drug regimen, tolerance of the drug, issues with administration of the drug; and access device are all reviewed with the patient.
Opportunities also exist for the pharmacist to participate in patient teaching, in-services to the company’s nurses and/or outside nursing agencies, and participate with our sales staff in in-services and calls to referral sources, hospitals, etc. Many home care companies are now sites for undergraduate pharmacy students, and several companies have instituted a PGY1 residency in home care (our organization has five residency programs).
In my role, I am responsible for overseeing the pharmacy services in a multi-site, home infusion pharmacy. Responsibilities include policy/procedure and standards of practice development; compliance with all Federal and state pharmacy laws; compliance with accepted standards of practice including USP <797>; TJC preparation; internal audit preparation; internal participation in committees and work groups such as the pharmacy dispensing steering committee, Corporate ADR committee; drug information support; staff orientation and training program oversight; and other activities as need arises. I am also the Residency Program Director of our four-site, PGY1, ASHP accredited, home infusion residency.
How I Got Where I am Today
I started out as a hospital pharmacist after my graduation in 1981, and over the next 6 years, advanced to an assistant director position. I transitioned into home care, when a technician with whom I had worked in the past called and said a certain company was opening an office in the Cleveland area and did I want to be the pharmacy manager. It is a move I have never regretted. Throughout the years I have held management/staffing positions in small and large (multisite) home care companies; publically and privately owned, and hospital based.
Advice for Students Pursuing this Career Path
If you like a practice environment that is fast paced, never the same, etc., home care practice is a practice that will meet that requirement. Ability to work in a multidiscipline patient-care environment is a must. As an undergraduate pharmacy student, I would suggest clinical rotations that focus on direct patient care, as well as specialized rotations in infectious disease, Parenteral nutrition, and if available, specifically home care.
Professional Organizations/Activities Outside Day-to-Day Job Responsibilities
ASHP, OSHP (Ohio Society), ASPEN, NHIA (National Home Infusion Association) are the organizations I currently have memberships in. I stay active in professional organizations (ASHP, NHIA) by volunteering for committees, be a reviewer, etc. I would suggest that the individual maintain a good balance between his/her professional and personal life. While work is an important part of anyone’s life, personal experiences bring a great deal to the table.
You can reach me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org