To identify the current challenges and opportunities in compensation and recognition for pharmacist-provided immunizations across the lifespan and to establish guiding principles for pharmacist-provided immunization compensation and recognition.
22 stakeholders gathered on June 29, 2011, at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) headquarters in Washington, DC, for a meeting on immunization compensation that was convened by APhA and the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy. Participants included representatives from community pharmacy practices (chain, grocery, and independent), employers, national consumer health and advocacy organizations, national pharmacy and public health organizations, health plan representatives, pharmacy benefit managers, and health information technology, standards, and safety organizations. Key immunization leaders from TRICARE Management Activity, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the National Vaccine Program Office of the Department of Health & Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also participated in the meeting.
The increased numbers of pharmacists providing vaccination services and the availability of pharmacist-provided immunizations to populations in need of vaccines has continued to increase. This has resulted in a rise in the percentage of patients who receive vaccines at pharmacies. Pharmacists are now working to leverage their ability to identify people with key risk factors (e.g., diabetes, heart disease or previous myocardial infarction), encourage them to receive their CDC-recommended vaccinations, and administer the required vaccine. Challenges and opportunities in compensation and recognition for pharmacist-provided immunizations across the adult lifespan persist. Variability in state practice acts, reimbursement and compensation processes and systems, and mechanisms for documentation of vaccine services create substantial differences in how pharmacist-provided immunizations are delivered throughout the United States.
Pharmacist-provided immunizations are clinically sound, are cost effective, are readily accessible, and support our nation's public health goals. Pharmacists have demonstrated that patient vaccination rates have improved through expansion of pharmacist-provided immunizations. The profession should continue efforts to collaborate with other immunization stakeholders and expand a pharmacist scope of practice that is built around a uniform and recognized standard of immunization provision and that supports the provision of all CDC-recommended vaccines through pharmacy-provided immunizations.