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4/9/2002
Press Release

ASHP Applauds Hospital Association's Workforce Recommendations

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) strongly supports recommendations released today by the American Hospital Association (AHA) to address the significant national shortage of health care workers, which includes a sizeable number of unfilled pharmacist positions.

The AHA Commission on Workforce for Hospitals and Health Systems recommends a multi-level approach to reducing personnel shortages by improving the workplace environment and increasing government funding of recruitment and retention programs.

"The pharmacist shortage is an important health care issue that can have a significant impact on the quality of patient care in hospitals and health systems," said ASHP President Steven L. Sheaffer, Pharm.D., FASHP, noting that the shortage of hospital pharmacists is nearly as large as that of registered nurses. "All data points to the fact that this is just the beginning of a long-term problem," Sheaffer added. "We must address workforce shortages aggressively to reduce medical errors and ensure that patients can access pharmacists’ unique medication-management expertise."

Former ASHP President Sara J. White, R.Ph., director of pharmacy services at Stanford Hospital and Clinics, Stanford, California, served on the commission. "We are extremely pleased that the AHA accepted our recommendation to include a pharmacist on the commission," said Henri R. Manasse, Jr., Ph.D., Sc.D., ASHP executive vice president and chief executive officer. "Sara’s in-depth understanding of the critical public health importance of pharmacist shortages made her an excellent spokesperson for health-system pharmacy."

ASHP is the 31,000-member national professional association that represents pharmacists who practice in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, long-term care facilities, home care, and other components of health care systems. ASHP, which has a long history of medication error prevention efforts, believes that the mission of pharmacists is to help people make the best use of medicines. Assisting pharmacists in fulfilling this mission is ASHP's primary objective. The Society has extensive publishing and educational programs designed to help members improve their delivery of pharmaceutical care, and it is the national accrediting organization for pharmacy residency and pharmacy technician training programs.