To describe a needs assessment, practice description, practice innovation and reimbursement of a psychiatric pharmacist medication therapy management (MTM) clinic with related challenges and opportunities.
An MTM clinic established in collaboration with the Outpatient Psychiatric Services (OPS) at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), under contract with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency Adult and Older Adult Mental Health Services (A/OAMHS).
Two board-certified psychiatric pharmacists provided direct patient care using a collaborative practice protocol 3 days per week. Clinical services included pharmacotherapy management, laboratory monitoring, medication counseling, and psychosocial referrals to other providers.
Payment to UCSD OPS for clinical services was based on a contract between the San Diego County A/OAMHS and the clinic. Two pharmacists co-managed mental health patients and billed for medication management based on face-to-face contact time (medication minutes) and documentation time with each patient.
Main outcome measures
Number of patients comanaged, dropout rates, visit duration, and billed minutes.
From May 2009 to December 2010, two pharmacists comanaged 68 patients, mean (± SD) age 48.6 ± 11.6 years, diagnosed with major depressive, schizophrenic, schizoaffective, and/or bipolar disorder. A total of 56 (82.3%) patients were clinically stable and remained on the pharmacist caseload, but 12 (17.6%) patients were lost to follow-up (10 lost contact, 1 moved, 1 expired). On average, patients had 7.7 patient visits , for 491 total visits (with an average of 26 minutes per visit) that were billed at a rate of $4.82 per minute for medication minutes, translating to $84,542.80.
With provider education and appropriate physician champions, pharmacists are able to work collaboratively with psychiatrists in a mental health clinic.