CDC releases tools to expand pharmacists' services through CPAs

APhA Foundation helped develop four documents for different audiences

CDC today released four related documents for pharmacists, other health care providers, payers, and decision makers with the goal of improving patient care services through team-based care and collaborative practice agreements (CPAs).

Developed in partnership with the APhA Foundation, the CDC tools customize for these audiences a core set of seven recommendations for use in CPAs that emerged from a January 2012 consortium meeting convened by the Foundation and funded by CDC, and a resulting article in the March/April 2013 Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (JAPhA).

The CDC tools were published by CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention on the CDC website. They reflect CDC’s interest in pharmacy.

“We recognize the key role that [pharmacists] can play in team-based care,” said CAPT David B. Callahan, MD, FAAFP, U.S. Public Health Service, at CDC. “We recognized that they were an underutilized resource. In health care today, we cannot afford to have underutilized resources.” Callahan is Lead of the Applied Research and Translation Team in CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention and a practicing family physician.

Genesis of the tools

The APhA Foundation, APhA, and the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations partnered with the consortium’s thought leaders to synthesize what was said at the meeting into consensus recommendations. These seven principles can help people at any level of implementing CPAs to “find something that they can do either locally in their community or on a statewide or national level” to make CPAs and pharmacists’ patient care services more available, said Lindsay Watson, PharmD, APhA Foundation Director of Applied Innovation.

CDC fused the recommendations with case studies about successful integration of CPAs and pharmacists’ patient care services to create usable resources with succinct messaging for the four audiences, Watson added. The seven key themes are available on the Foundation website and detailed in the JAPhA article

Growing interest in pharmacy

CDC’s interest in pharmacy has increased in recent years, according to Watson. The Million Hearts initiative helped bring attention “to what pharmacists can do,” she said. “But awareness has grown since then to the point where almost every division within the CDC that we work with and that has a focus on chronic disease has some type of interest in pharmacy.”

A couple of years ago, CDC pharmacists and nonpharmacists formed an agencywide All Things Pharmacy group that is interested in the pharmacist’s role in providing better health care. “That was a very active group that produced numerous projects,” Callahan said.

In 2012, CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention and Division of Diabetes Translation jointly released A Program Guide for Public Health: Partnering with Pharmacists in the Prevention and Control of Chronic Diseases on the CDC website for CDC grantees.

In early 2013, CDC announced a 5-year project involving funding for state governments—noncompetitive grants for all 50 states plus Washington, DC, and competitive grants for 25 states—to promote health and to prevent and control chronic diseases and their risk factors. “In that is included increased work with pharmacists, among other members of the health care team,” Callahan said.

Continuing dialogue with CDC

The APhA Foundation and CDC continue to have conversations about what pharmacists can do to partner with the agency or its grantees “to make pharmacists a prominent member of the health care team,” Watson said.

“This movement towards team-based care is real. It’s happening in real time. And it’s being led by the private health care industry,” Callahan said. “I think it’s wonderful for CDC to be able to be part of this, and part of that is working with pharmacists to be truly integrated members of that team.”