Working conditions in pharmacies – 1600 KUSH
OPhA press release:
The Oklahoma Pharmacists Association (OPhA) tirelessly supports our pharmacists and the work of pharmacy teams, as they seek overdue action to improve the deteriorating working conditions of the company. We have heard the concerns of our members and we reassure you of our commitment to help you. Our profession rightly demands action to keep us and our patients safe, without compromising the public welfare by abandoning the patients who rely on us. Serving patients and ensuring their safety are fundamental values of the profession of pharmacist.
In the Oath of a pharmacist, our members are committed to considering the well-being of humanity and the alleviation of suffering as our primary concerns. At the same time, our members embrace and advocate for changes that improve patient care. Corporate pharmacy workforce issues have led to frustration and burnout. These problems have been accumulating for some time, but they have become more acute with the stressors brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Working conditions in the workplace have pushed many pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and other members of the pharmacy team to the brink of despair. Pharmacy burnout is a significant patient safety issue. It is impacting patients today with delayed filling of prescriptions, unacceptable waits for vaccines and tests, potential errors due to high volume, long hours and pressure to respond to medication measurements. performance.
Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are natural caregivers, and we need to tackle the basic issues that cause burnout and frustration. The public, policymakers and regulators must be educated and recognize the seriousness of the negative well-being of our pharmacy teams and the need for both additional resources and realistic expectations to safely provide patient care services. . Pharmacy employers across the healthcare system need to have a constructive dialogue with their teams, resulting in realistic expectations that are supported by appropriate staffing levels and procedures. Employing companies have an obligation to increase the workforce in their pharmacies, in order to promote patient safety and access and to improve the well-being of their pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. In addition, the Board of Pharmacy, which is responsible for protecting public health and safety, including timely patient access to needed drugs and services, must also review current experiences and regulations contributing to this problem. and take appropriate action. To help the profession, the Pharmacy Council has made available a insufficient staffing report to their website. The Board of Pharmacy has also incorporated staffing issues into its inspection reports to document non-compliance or unsafe conditions in the pharmacy that would impact the health and safety of the public. These are positive changes.
A major contributing factor that leads to understaffing and unrealistic performance metrics is a misaligned payments system that rewards volume, not value. Pharmacists and pharmacies are reimbursed primarily for the delivery of a product, not for meeting the clinical needs of the patient. The payment system for pharmaceutical services is fundamentally flawed. The OPhA has long advocated for changes in our healthcare system to help improve working conditions.
Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are middlemen who siphoned huge profits from the prescription drug system, leaving pharmacies to depend on unrealistic transaction volumes and unsustainable staff to stay in business. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma has passed legislation to hold PBMs accountable for their unregulated business practices throughout the healthcare system. OPhA will continue to work with state leaders to ensure that all Oklahoma laws affecting the practices of PBMs are observed and enforced.
Pharmacy teams responded to an important need within their communities during the pandemic, through the provision of acute and chronic medication and related services, including testing, vaccinations and treatment. These services are provided in addition to a model that was pushed to its limit before COVID-19, due to the misaligned payment model.
The OPhA will continue to promote the resources available to support our members through this difficult time. One of these resources is the Oklahoma Pharmacists Helping Pharmacists (OPHP) which is available to pharmacy professionals who need help managing stress, anxiety, sadness, or depression, as well as those who are at risk for chemical dependence or other impairments. They can be reached at 1-800-260-7574 and their web page can be found at: https://www.ophp.us.
Multiple factors have contributed to the situation we find ourselves in, and therefore a multidimensional approach to a solution is needed, both short and long term. The OPhA calls on anyone who can have an impact on the well-being of our pharmacy teams and the safe delivery of patient care to address these issues now with their teams and others who can make a difference: businesses employers, the pharmacy board and third-party payers. To maintain public access to pharmacy services, relief is needed now. OPhA stands alongside our pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to advocate for timely change.
About the Oklahoma Pharmacists Association
The Oklahoma Pharmacists Association (OPhA) is the professional association of pharmacists in Oklahoma. We are committed to advancing public health by promoting and advancing the professional interests of pharmacists, fostering collaborative partnerships of pharmacy professionals in all practice settings, creating strategic partnerships and developing entrepreneurial resources. , collaborating with Oklahoma Colleges of Pharmacy, and supporting membership development. For more information visit www.opha.com.