ASHP HOME CARE COMPONENT GROUP TO REPRESENT ABOUT 1,500 MEMBERS
ASHP HOME CARE COMPONENT GROUP TO REPRESENT ABOUT 1,500 MEMBERS that the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists has identified from its 25,000 total membership as home care pharmacy practitioners, ASHP President Jannet Carmichael announced Dec. 7 at the group's mid-year clinical meeting in Orlando. The ASHP component group, to be established in January 1994, will "select its own leaders and have a certain amount of independence to establish its own programs and activities," Carmichael said. The structure and scope of the home care group will be determined in part by responses to a needs assessment survey conducted this fall. Most of the 1,462 known home care practitioners surveyed were existing ASHP members. Preliminary results from the survey were presented at an open forum for home care practitioners, also held Dec. 7. The most frequently reported needs were I.V. sterility, compatibility and stability information, and information on reimbursement and insurance issues. Other needs reported included pediatric/geriatric I.V. medication administration guidelines; and risk management, liability and regulation information. Services desired included representation on regulatory and legislative issues. "Home care," for the purposes of the survey, includes hospital-based programs, home care agencies that provide services in addition to pharmaceutical care, and pharmaceutical care specialist firms ranging from I.V. infusion only to all types of pharmaceutical services. On 73% of the 571 usable surveys, respondents reported that their primary practice area before moving to home care was in a hospital inpatient setting. "Home care practitioners constitute one of the largest alternate-site sectors of our 25,000 membership," and the profession is experiencing "rapid growth," Carmichael noted. She estimated that the home care industry is growing at four times the rate of health maintenance organizations, the second fastest growing area. The home care component group will be the first of its kind within ASHP. In early 1991, ASHP created a home care advisory group that will direct the formation of the component group along with ASHP's steering committee on organizational structure, board of directors and staffers. Another possible area for future ASHP focus in the form of a component group is managed care. Another component group would be formed only after ASHP has had some experience with the home care group, Carmichael said. ASHP currently has a managed care advisory group. The professional organization began expanding its membership scope from hospital pharmacists to pharmacists in "organized health care systems" in 1975. The association currently has members in HMOs and long-term care facilities as well as home care agencies and hospitals. Carmichael pointed out that "the need [for a home care component] has grown out of our membership." However, if there are "people in your community that can also benefit from [ASHP's] services, chapters, whatever, there would certainly be no attempt to exclude them." Suggestions regarding the component group and home care in general voiced at the open forum included the component group's use of "collective power" to persuade pharmaceutical companies to perform longer-term stability testing on products, and that ASHP guidelines on I.V. infusion, when issued, make a clear distinction between manufacturing and compounding. A recurring concern of the home care pharmacists was that the competitiveness of private home care agencies not interfere with communication between peers.
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