Judging from what we're told at school, MTMs are the second coming of Jesus. It is "an example of the future of the profession" or "identifies the new role of the pharmacist in the health care community."
That is entirely true... to an extent. The problem though is that everyone, and by everyone I mean those in power, realize what MTMs can do for the profession... yet choose to ignore the relevant problems of adopting it to our current business model.
We all know the benefits of a service such as MTMs. Physicians are even conceding to the benefits of MTMs, a fact which is more groundbreaking than most realize.
The problem is the consumer does not know the benefits of MTMs. Hell, they don't even know what MTMs are for the most part.
I covered this fact earlier last year and it is something I have been pushing APhA to look into for the last few months.
Essentially we are telling the various insurance providers that we can offer this service which will, ultimately, save them money but will do so in a novel approach. Herein lies the bigger problem... there's no demand for these services.
Really, there's not. Name one time a patient came up to you asking for something similar to what MTMs do? I bet you cannot name one specific instance can you?
That all comes back to the fact that the public is blissfully unaware of what a pharmacist can do. We have to create the demand if we want to take this next step. Some pharmacists, namely Eric, RPh, are already taking the brave first step into this new world.
If we're so intent on moving in this direction, we have to tackle the business aspects that we have so far been ignoring. Pharmacists, in general, have been the passive members of the health care community and in many ways this has become an ingrained trait. It is time to step out side of this self-induced funk and reassert ourselves.
And if not for ourselves, for the future of our profession.
Would it really be so difficult to devise a system for billing for time spent monitoring a patient? We already have ICD-9 codes and DURs to classify what it is we're doing, would it be so difficult to add one more field classifying some time scale? This wouldn't require a complete rewrite of how we do our every day business, merely a small adjustment.
Honestly, I think that is the biggest hurdle places like WAGs, CVS and the likes have with pushing for these services, successful implementation of billing. Sure there would be some trust involved, but it's there are ways to self, and externally, audit times.
And for the business minded folks, the sheer dollar amount that is available out there is astounding. It's almost as if we're sitting on top a giant field of oil, yet we're too scared to drill some test wells.
Ironically enough, the exact same could be said in terms of benefits for patients.
Really, what on Earth are we waiting for?