Advancing The Profession of Pharmacy

Interview with an Independent MTM Consultant Pharmacist

by | Sep 24, 2015 | Big Picture Ideas, MTM Entrepreneurship

Today I want to thank Dr. Taylor Franklin for participating in this guest post.  Many of our Newsletter subscribers have expressed interest in learning more about Independent MTM consulting.  Like myself, Dr. Franklin is an independent MTM consultant working for several retail community pharmacies in the northwest Arkansas area.

Taylor Franklin, PharmD works as a Medication Therapy Management Consultant in Fort Smith, AR and the surrounding area.  Dr. Franklin graduated from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in 2014.  She successfully implemented new MTM programs at two rotation sites during her P4 year.  After graduation, she continues to provide MTM services at these sites and has since began serving other independent pharmacies as well.  Since beginning these programs, Dr. Franklin has helped a total of nine pharmacies expand their immunization services, implement adherence programs and  improve each store’s Medicare Star Ratings.  Dr. Franklin is an active member of the Arkansas Pharmacists Association, as well as the American Pharmacists Association.  In addition to providing MTM services to patients, Dr. Franklin also trains other pharmacists to provide clinical services through her work as a consultant and as a faculty member for APhA’s Delivering Medication Therapy Management Services certificate program.

We are so excited to hear about her journey and the way that she created a career path for herself in a totally new way.  She has been an inspiration to me and she continues to pave the way for other MTM consultant pharmacists by offering MTM certification courses through the APhA.

How did you begin independently consulting?

Taylor:  I had a MTM elective rotation during my fourth year of pharmacy school.  I worked with a great preceptor who was doing MTM for a couple of stores where she did relief work and I learned how to complete cases in the Outcomes and Mirixa platforms.  Two of my later rotations were in independent pharmacies that were not doing MTM at the time.  I got them started and they hired me after the month was over to keep up with their cases.  After finishing pharmacy school, I began working in a few more independent stores in the area, as well as doing some relief work.

What does your normal day look like?

Taylor:  In the morning I review my cases for the day.  I check the patients’ medication histories and look for any potential problems.  I meet with patients and perform comprehensive medication reviews (CMRs) with them.  We address any problems or concerns they have and I give them recommendations on getting the most out of their drug therapy.  I spend the time between appointments calling patients to address issues such as non-adherence, contacting prescribers with recommendations, as well as documenting and billing for the services I provide.

What does a normal week look like?

Taylor:  Some of the pharmacies I work for have multiple locations, so for those I have one store that is kind of a home base.  I try to visit those stores once per week, so I usually have Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the same place each week.  This allows for some consistency in my routine and makes scheduling appointments easier.  Mondays and Fridays I use to visit the other stores, usually twice per month.  I also still do some relief work.

What is your favorite part about being an independent consultant?

Taylor:  I love the flexibility of this job and setting my own hours.  I also get to work in lots of different pharmacies so it doesn’t get monotonous.

What is your least favorite part about being an independent consultant?

Taylor:  There are some drawbacks to this type of work.  I do contract labor or work as a part-time employee everywhere, so I do not qualify for any full-time benefits.  Thankfully I have insurance through my husband’s employer, but I do not have things like an employer 401(k) match, sick leave, paid vacation or holidays.  The pay is also less consistent than with a regular full-time job.  If stability and routine are the most important things to you in a job, this probably isn’t the best fit. It takes a lot of organization and discipline, but it is definitely worth it to have so much flexibility.

What advice would you give to a person wanting to become an independent consultant like you?

Taylor:  Learn as much as you can and provide a quality service to your patients.  You will become an asset and a great resource to your employers.   If you’re looking to do this full-time, it may take a while to get there.  Another part-time job or relief work can give some stability during the transition.

Is there a specific example of a big impact you have made in regards to a single patient’s intervention during your MTM consultation?

Taylor:  I recently met with a patient who was having trouble keeping his blood glucose under control. After discussing his insulin dose, diet, and other factors, I started asking him about adherence.  As it turns out, he was using less insulin than he was prescribed and skipping doses because he was in the Medicare coverage gap (donut hole) and he could not afford his copay every month.  He gets in the coverage gap every year in June and never gets out, so he struggles with paying for his medications for half of the year.  He was using a pen injector for his insulin because that is what the doctor prescribed, but has no problem drawing up his dose with a regular syringe.  I requested a switch from his prescriber from insulin pens to vials and this cut his copay about in half while he is in the coverage gap.  We also looked at other ways to get his drug costs down, and if his medications stay the same next year, he will not get in the coverage gap until October or November, saving him well over $1000.  If we had not met for a comprehensive medication review, this likely would have continued for years.  Issues like this often take time to address and patients may not bring them up during a normal visit to pick up prescriptions.  It is so beneficial for patients to get one-on-one time with a pharmacist to address their medication issues.

Key Takeaways:

  • Relief work can be a great way to develop a relationship with pharmacies that may need help with MTM casework
  • Be patient, building your portfolio may take some time
  • Be realistic about pay, benefits, and work flexibility when working as an independent consultant
  • Address patient concerns and their issues as well as the issues that you feel are important
  • Leave plenty of time for documentation and follow up calls
  • Be an advocate for your patients, listen to their biggest concerns and focus on their concerns

 

Thanks so much to Taylor for sharing her story with us so that other may be inspired to follow their own career path!  She is truly a great patient advocate as well as an advocate for the profession of pharmacy.  We appreciate her commitment to helping advance the profession of pharmacy and to educating pharmacists on the value of MTM and other clinical services.

If you are interested in starting your own pharmacy consulting services, join our [Free] NEWSLETTER for the latest in clinical service opportunities and how to grow your MTM consulting business!

About the Author

Blair Thielemier, PharmD, is an MTM consultant pharmacist specializing in pharmacy billing models. She consults on and produces e-learning programs for state and national organizations, pharmacy wholesalers, payers, technology start-ups. She has books and online courses available for individuals looking to leverage their pharmacy knowledge into monetized clinical programs at PharmapreneurAcademy.com. She speaks internationally about trends in leveraging pharmacists to improve value-based care.

 

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