There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding the subject of MTM certifications and licenses. We will attempt to clear up the confusion with this handy Cheat Sheet.
The only special certification/license you MUST have in order to complete MTM services is:
That is it. NO OTHER CERTIFICATION/LICENSE IS REQUIRED.
There are plenty of CE programs, masters programs, certification courses, national board of pharmacy certifications, etc touting their value, but in reality you DO NOT NEED CERTIFICATION TO BEGIN OFFERING MTM.
NOTE: You do have to be "employed by" a licensed pharmacy in order to be sent patients needing MTM services. Employed by can mean that your are a W-2 or a W-9 employee, but in my experience W-2 employees are more common and less likely to be considered "outside sources" by Mirixa and OutcomesMTM.
The value of a course/program/certification.
Will courses help refresh your clinical knowledge? Absolutely.
Will they teach about starting an independent pharmacy consulting business? Probably not.
Most of these courses are designed to refresh your clinical skills, remind you of treatment guidelines, give you a general knowledge of MTM consulting, teach basic communication skills and provide a piece of paper that does not mean a thing (and maybe a few live CE hours). Some states may require you to have a special license to be a "consultant pharmacist". At the time of this writing, no states to our knowledge required a special license to offer MTM services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) certainly do not either.
Special licensing is not in the CMS requirements because they want ARE NOT INTERESTED IN ADDING BARRIERS TO PATIENT CARE; THEY WANT MORE PHARMACISTS OFFERING CLINICAL SERVICES.
There may be some value in getting a special license to operate as a consultant pharmacist or even licensing your business as a non-dispensing pharmacy in your state of residency.
Is it the first step? No.
So what is recommended?
First start with the basic Advice for Independent Consultants, then read the 7 Steps to MTM Consulting. Once you get a few pharmacies interested in your services, gain some MTM experience, even it you have to do it for free.
Please, make sure you enjoy MTM first, then (and only then) should you think about getting additional certifications or licenses to help further your career. As with any new product or service you offer as a business, make sure there is a market for it before investing any time or money into it. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you need to start thinking about business practices such as getting a return on your investment and market interest.
We harp on networking, but it is more than a buzzword. Networking is how you test the market. Its how you find the path of least resistance. Its how you save yourself from reinventing the wheel. Its meeting colleagues that have already paved the way!
Networking and a great attitude will get you far. If you truly have a passion for clinical pharmacy services, do not let the lack of a certification hold you back. Once you have completed a few MTM services, first decide if you enjoy it and want to pursue it, then get in touch with us here at BT Pharmacy Consulting and we can help point you in the right direction.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. Blair Green Thielemier, PharmD is an independent clinical consultant pharmacist living and working in 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