CAMDEN — A local pharmacy is taking part in a pilot project which allows pharmacists to be reimbursed for counseling patients, performing medical tests and other duties typically reserved for physicians.
“A lot of things doctors and physician’s assistants do, pharmacists can now be reimbursed for,” Camden resident and CareSource Pharmacy Program Manager Shannon Steele said. Steele’s husband, Jeff Steele, was elected to Camden Village Council in Nov. 2019.
Camden Village Pharmacy, located at 75 W. Central Ave., is one of two pharmacies in the state of Ohio currently participating in such a program, according to Steele. The program allows pharmacists to counsel patients on how to safely use and manage their medications and topics such as smoking cessation and the dangers of opioid addiction.
The program is a vital resource for Preble County residents, according to Steele.
“Especially in rural areas, this means extra help for patients who can’t always get to their doctor on a regular basis,” Steele said. “You might only see your doctor once a year. Now you have a whole team helping you to manage your health.”
Local pharmacist and Camden Pharmacy owner Carol Perry agreed.
“Before we were basically just filling prescriptions,” Perry said. “We still did a lot of the counseling with patients, but we weren’t reimbursed for it. This allows us to spend more time and go more in-depth.”
The program also allows pharmacists to train patients in how to administer naloxone – commonly called Narcan – a drug, often delivered in the form of a nasal spray, used in emergency treatment of patients suffering from a drug overdose.
“A lot of overdoses happen because people can’t remember if they’ve taken their medications or not,” Perry said. The new program will allow pharmacists to spend time with patients and help them develop strategies to avoid accidental overdoses.
The program also allows pharmacists to be advocates for patients, according to Staff Pharmacist Penny Nerderman.
“We can talk to them, and find out if the medication is working for them or if we need to contact their physician,” Nerderman said. “Pharmacists are so accessible. I think patients feel like they have more time with us. With their doctor they might feel nervous or rushed, and they might forget to talk to them about something.”
Nerderman also stressed the danger of accidental overdoses.
“Even if they’re taking their medication correctly, an overdose can still happen,” Nerderman said. “We can teach them the signs to look out for, and help them to be compliant.”
Perry praised CareSource for the program.
“They’re really at the forefront here. This is not a common thing; this is cutting edge,” Perry said. “To be able to take care of the patients the way we have been, and even take that further, and be recognized as health care providers.”
“This is really innovative, and we hope it’s what pharmacists will do in the future,” Steele said. “It could really change health care for the better.”
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook or Instagram @mproperenglish