HCQM News and Updates

Integrating Pharmacists to Improve Transitions of Care Beyond Medication Reconciliation

By: Cheri Lattimer RN, BSN
Executive Director, National Transitions of Care Coalition 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) defines a transition of care as the movement of a patient from one setting of care to another. Settings of care may include hospitals, ambulatory primary care practices, ambulatory specialty care practices, long-term care facilities, home health, and rehabilitation facilities. To improve these transitions, our health care system needs strong interdisciplinary care teams to collaborate and establish processes that improve transitions at each level of care within the health care continuum. 

The COVID-19 era in health care has seen unprecedented changes and that has been no different for the pharmacy profession. The profession has stepped up and played a more highly visible role in advancing public health than possibly ever before. Going forward, as we envision a post-COVID-19 pandemic world, the pharmacy profession will be better positioned to bring new levels of transformational care to the public.¹ Pharmacists have a crucial role and impact in improving transitions of care for patients, their identified family caregivers, and providers within the health care system. Pharmacists addressing the issues surrounding transitions of care have the opportunity to: 

• Improve the quality of patient care
• Reduce avoidable hospital readmission
• Enhance patient engagement
• Improve communication with patients and their identified caregivers
• Decrease medication errors

When we think about pharmacists working to address transitions of care, we tend to think their focus is medication reconciliation. However, pharmacists have so much more to offer in ensuring the safe use of medications by patients and their identified family caregiver with a focus on the patient’s plan of care. They are able to offer follow-up calls with patients, after nurse-based patient education upon a hospital or post-acute discharge, reinforcing medication continuity and ensuring the patient and their family caregiver have the opportunity to ask questions and clarify important medication care plans. 

In 2014, the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners published a paper describing the Pharmacists’ Patient Care Process. The Patient Care Process focuses the pharmacists to use a patient-centered approach to addressing the issues of Medication Management Services (MMS) and optimizing the patient’s health. Through this process, pharmacists develop a patient-pharmacist relationship that supports engagement and enhanced communication with patients and their identified family caregiver. In collaboration with the patient’s care team, the pharmacist is able to document and communicate with other care providers in the provision of safe, effective, and coordinated care.² 

In 2021, the National Transitions of Care Coalition (NTOCC) brought together a Transitions of Care Pharmacists Task Force to discuss the issues and concerns for pharmacists addressing transitions of care and what support pharmacists needed for this critical role. The Task Force believed there needs to be education and awareness in the health care industry of how integrating pharmacists into the transitions of care process can improve patient care and clinical outcomes. NTOCC has now convened the TOC Pharmacists Advisory Committee who will build on the work of the Task Force and the 10 Principles of TOC Pharmacists3 that were developed by the Task Force. The Committee looks to increase not only the awareness of the pharmacist’s role but bring awareness to the need for reimbursement models which would recognize the unique and valuable role and expertise the pharmacist brings to each care transition through their assessment, management, monitoring, and advocacy. 

Pharmacists should be an integral member of the interdisciplinary care team at every level of care transition and coordination. Although no one discipline is responsible for care transitions and coordination, a larger involvement by pharmacists beyond medication reconciliation will help realize an improved standard of care, including Medication Management Services, and overall quality of care as well as patient satisfaction and safety. 

1. NTOCC January 2022 IMPACT, https://www.ntocc.org/news-1/nbsppharmacist-transitions-of-care-task-force-advancing-a-new-standard-of-care-in-our-post-covid-19-era-of-healthcare
2. JCPP Pharmacists' Patient Care Process, https://jcpp.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/PatientCareProcess-with-supporting-organizations.pdf
3. TOC Pharmacists 10 Principles, https://www.ntocc.org/health-care-professionals

Learn more about integrating the TOC Pharmacist into the care team and join me at ABQAURP’s 2022 Annual Health Care Quality and Patient Safety Conference in Clearwater Beach, FL on October 6-7, 2022. For more information and to register, visit: www.abqaurp.org/AnnualConference.

Transformational Leaders: Redesigning Population Health Through Technology, AI, and Resilience

October 6-7, 2022 - Sheraton Sand Key Resort - Clearwater Beach, FL
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While COVID caused much loss and despair, exposing the many gaps in pandemic readiness, infrastructure needs, education, and communication strategies; it also provided a perspective on what could be accomplished when we collaborate, innovate, and stand tall with resilience! Although we are by no means through to the other side, lessons learned from this experience will be the basis for transformational leaders to redesign the landscape for ongoing population health improvements. 

Join other transformational leaders at ABQAURP's Annual Health Care Quality & Patient Safety Conference in Clearwater Beach, FL; come together to discover the innovations and approaches that have evolved from the swift changes made throughout health care. Together, we can move forward with a health care system that is more resilient and stronger than ever before.

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Sound Physicians – Physician Advisory Services Webinar – Tuesday, March 15
National denial rates are up, increasing 23% over the last five years. For many clinicians, receiving a denial letter can be daunting and confusing, and many wonder if they should attempt to appeal them at all. The answer is yes, and knowing how to read and appeal a denial is an important skill to have. 

Physician Advisors understand the financial impacts denials have to a hospitals revenue. They are experts in payer regulations and take time reading through a denial letter to prepare the proper information needed to appeal the denial. 

In this webinar, Tactics to Successfully Appeal a Denial Letter, two physician advisors will discuss the types of appeals, anatomy of an appeal letter, and examples for how to overturn a denial. Join us Tuesday, March 15, at 11am PT / 2pm ET. 


Announcing the 2021 Membership Referral Winner

We are pleased to announce that Mr. Muhammad Umar Farooq is our newest Membership Referral Drive winner. 

Our sincere thanks to Mr. Umar for his dedication to Health Care Quality and Management (HCQM)! Member participation and influence help ABQAURP to foster the concepts of health quality and safety throughout the health care system. Improved patient care is the result of our combined efforts. 

Mr. Muhammad Umar Farooq is an accomplished individual with more than a decade of experience working with Joint Commission International-accredited tertiary care hospitals in Pakistan. He has worked in various Quality and Patient Safety leadership positions and currently serves as Director of Quality at Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute. 
Mr. Umar has worked in national advisory roles for development of health care quality standards and their implementation across the Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A nurse by occupation, but a change agent at heart, he finds his mission in spreading awareness and knowledge amongst the health care professionals of Pakistan. 

He was certified in HCQM with sub-specialty in Patient Safety/Risk Management in 2017. We are proud to have him and his colleagues as members! 

You could be next! 2022 Membership Referral Drive

Refer your colleagues! Your involvement in this year's membership development program plays an essential role in the vitality of your organization. Diplomates and Members are our most valuable resource! To say thanks and recognize your commitment to quality, ABQAURP credits your account $25.00 for each referral that becomes a Member or sits for the HCQM Exam. The member who recruits the most is awarded a Member Spotlight in the ABQAURP newsletter, a $500 Visa Gift Card, and registration for the annual conference with CME/CE. 

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Now Taking Applications for the 2022 HCQM Certification Exam!

Certification in Health Care Quality and Management (HCQM) is for physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals who are committed to Health Care Quality and Patient Safety. Validate your expertise by earning the Certified in Health Care Quality and Management (CHCQM) credential! 

The 2022 HCQM Exam window will be open from June 1 through September 30, 2022. Apply early for your choice of date, time, and location. Remote testing is available through ProProctor™ - a remote testing platform that allows candidates to test anywhere, at any time. 

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