How granting pharmacists provider status has affected patient care in Ohio

Ohio passed a law in 2019 granting pharmacists provider status, and some preliminary results show the move has improved patient care in managing chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes, the Ohio Capital Journal reported July 26. 

Without provider status, pharmacists can only be paid to dispense drugs. But with this status, pharmacists are paid for other parts of their job, such as performing diagnostic tests and helping patients manage chronic conditions. 

CareSource, a Medicaid managed care provider based in Dayton, Ohio, has for the last year been paying pharmacists at Ziks Family Pharmacy in Dayton based on their new provider status. CareSource reported six-month results from its partnership with Ziks Pharmacy, and while the sample size is small, results of paying pharmacists as providers seem promising, according to the Ohio Capital Journal, particularly when it comes to patient outcomes for those with chronic illnesses. 

For asthma patients, after coaching by pharmacists on the importance of medication adherence and proper inhaler use, 80 percent had better scores on their asthma control tests. After meeting with pharmacists, 75 percent of diabetes patients who regularly monitor their blood glucose saw decreases after medication adjustments. And roughly 90 percent of smokers who sought counseling with pharmacists were given medication, and about 67 percent reported decreasing their tobacco use by 50 percent or more, the Ohio Capital Journal reported. 

Nnodum Iheme, owner of Ziks Pharmacy, told the publication that being paid as providers allows pharmacists to take the time to help patients that require extra care. 

"Through partners like CareSource, we're paying pharmacists to do the right thing, to help our patients, to do what we went to school for," Scott Knoer, PharmD, CEO of the American Pharmacists Association and former chief pharmacy officer for the Cleveland Clinic, told the Ohio Capital Journal.  

Dr. Knoer also said the American Pharmacists Association is working to pass a federal law granting pharmacists medical provider status. 

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