"You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step" - Dr. Martin Luther King
Have you heard someone speak or write about all the excellent benefits of MTM, but wondered, "Ok, that is all great pie-in-the-sky ideology, but what is the ABSOLUTE FIRST STEP?"
Well today my colleagues, we will examine what first steps you should take to get started offering MTM services.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, "In 2014, almost 20% of MTM programs use expanded eligibility requirements beyond CMS’ minimum requirements." That is projected to grow more and more each year and create more opportunities for MTM services than ever before.
Now is the time to act, but what is that ABSOLUTE FIRST STEPS?
These 7 Steps are variations on how to take the very first steps into offering MTM or other clinical services:
1. Contract with OutcomesMTM and Mirixa. If you currently work in a retail setting, go to OutcomesMTM and get your pharmacy contracted with them if it is not already. The same goes for Mirixa. Do not worry about the other platforms yet and do not worry about private pay models yet. They can come later, the focus is to get your pharmacy contracted and do it NOW!
2. Gain experience doing MTM. If you do not currently work in a retail setting, you need to reach out to your network. You may remember that friend from pharmacy school that opened their own independent pharmacy. Reach out to them, chances are if they run and staff their own pharmacy, they may need help in offering clinical services.
3. Get certified in MTM and immunizations. Go to APhA's website and find your state chapter, they most likely will offer a very basic and general course on MTM certification. Getting certified is not a requirement for offering MTM, but if you have never been exposed to MTM at all, it may be a good place for you to begin. The certification courses offered are for very general knowledge and will most likely not be as detailed as the posts contained on this site.
4. Volunteer to gain experience. Offer to help others run immunization clinics, health fair booths, precept for students in a local college of pharmacy, join a committee, etc. Get your name out there and build that network. You may find a student that is able to train you on MTM! If you have never done an MTM consultation, ask to shadow someone that offers MTM at their pharmacy. Most likely, others will be more than happy to help you, as most pharmacists enjoy teaching others and sharing their knowledge. You never know unless you ask.
5. Find a mentor. Another example of utilizing your network is finding a mentor who can show you the ropes. If you do not know anyone in your immediate area offering clinical services, get yourself a profile on LinkedIn and connect with someone. Connecting with other pharmacists to learn more about their skillset is a valuable tool. Find out how others are providing value to their patients.
6. Information gather. Sign up for as many APhA, OutcomesMTM, Mirixa, CMS and newsletters like ours, that have to do with MTM as you can find. If you want to learn more about a subject, the easiest way to do so is to have tons of information emailed directly to your inbox on a daily basis!
7. Network. Did I mention how important LinkedIn is? If networking and connecting have not been stressed enough, let me clarify. YOUR NETWORK IS YOUR MOST VALUABLE TOOL. Not in a sleazy, salesperson kind of way, but as in reaching out to reach people, making real connections and providing a mutually beneficial relationship.
Your clinical skills are like any other dynamic relationship, they need to be nurtured and attended to, the more attention you give that relationship, the more it will grow.
Maybe it will take several months to get everything put together.
Maybe you will not be able to see a return on your time investment for several more months.
I assure you based on the projections for growth of MTM and clinical services in the future, your sacrifice WILL BE WORTH IT.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. Blair Green Thielemier, PharmD is an independent clinical consultant pharmacist living and working in the Northeast Arkansas and Southeast Missouri. Dr. Thielemier is committed to helping advance the practice of pharmacy through providing training and guiding implementation of new clinical services in community pharmacy. You can visit the BT Consulting website at http://btpharmacyconsulting.com