Pharmacy Practice Site Profile: Osterhaus Pharmacy

An Independent Pharmacy in Rural
Iowa, Taking Advantage of New
Opportunities to Care for Patients
Through Affiliation with a Large
University-Sponsored Community
Pharmacy Residency Program

Osterhaus Pharmacy

Matthew C. Osterhaus, BS Pharm, FASCP
President, Residency Program Director

Osterhaus Pharmacy, in Maquoketa, Iowa, has been a leader in pharmacy practice innovation since the early 1990s. The pharmacy’s mission is “doing what is right” for the patient, notes Matthew Osterhaus, president of the pharmacy. This mission drives his focus on providing individualized patient care services. The pharmacy recently renovated its space to include five semiprivate and private rooms for delivering patient care services. These services are currently provided to approximately 4,500 patients. In addition, the pharmacy dispenses from 200 to 400 prescriptions a day. Osterhaus Pharmacy has been a pioneer in patient care services, building the foundation to become the patient care powerhouse that it is today.

In 1991, the pharmacy began participating in “pharmaceutical care” pilot projects such as Project ImPACT: Hyperlipidemia, and had converted the practice to a patient care–based model by the mid-1990s. These early experiences with patient care services helped to shape Osterhaus’ vision for the future of pharmacy. “We saw how the services could improve the lives of our patients and provide a return that was beneficial for us as a practice site and for payers,” remarks Osterhaus. The community pharmacy residency program, offered in conjunction with Ruegnitz Pharmacy and the University of Iowa, became the first of its kind in the state of Iowa in 1997. Osterhaus, an alumnus of the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy and an adjunct faculty member, has served as the primary preceptor for the residency at Osterhaus Pharmacy for 13 years. The residents are immersed in the provision of patient care services, including MTM, for patients with various medical conditions.

Residents also are integral to programs for assisting patients with smoking cessation and healthy weight loss, as well as the provision of drug information, durable medical equipment, and home medical-respiratory services. Residents are trained to understand the business aspects of providing patient care services so they are prepared to implement services in new locations after graduating from the program. Research into the return-on-investment (ROI) for a service is a common residency project. The data generated by such residency projects help to document the value of the services for the pharmacy, and can be used when marketing the services to other potential payers. “While our mission is to serve our patients, we have to ensure that we are doing so within a realistic business model; you cannot provide patient care services if you cannot keep the lights on,” remarks Osterhaus. Marketing the services to a variety of audiences, including patients, physicians, and potential payers, is another important focus. “Residents need to know not only how to provide a service, or how to run the service, but how to educate others about the value of the service,” explains Osterhaus.

Current payers for patient care services at the pharmacy include the Iowa state Medicaid program, Medicare Part D, employer groups, and individuals who pay out of pocket. The residents are an exceptional asset for Osterhaus Pharmacy. Their energy and enthusiasm act synergistically with that of the other staff members to create a positive and committed working environment. The residents also expand the amount of direct patient care the pharmacy provides. In turn, this elevates the positive impression of the pharmacy in the community. The importance of giving back, and working to ensure a viable future for community pharmacy, are underscored during the residency.

In addition to involvement with teaching courses at the University of Iowa, residents have direct responsibilities overseeing student pharmacists during IPPE and APPE rotations. Furthermore, “We emphasize to the residents that it is crucial to be active politically, to connect with your state legislators, and to work with them to ensure that pharmacy services are being supported on a health policy level,” notes Osterhaus. He and his staff are actively involved in leadership positions with state and national pharmacy associations as well as with political and regulatory bodies that affect pharmacy. The team at Osterhaus Pharmacy has trained and inspired many residents who graduate from the program and pursue patient care practices, faculty positions, and leadership roles in the profession. “It is amazing, and incredibly rewarding, to watch residents launch accelerated careers out of the program,” observes Osterhaus. Justin Wilson is just one example of the many pharmacists who have completed the residency and advanced to a successful career in community pharmacy, one that now includes precepting other residents. Osterhaus sees expansion of community pharmacy residency programs as important for the future of the pharmacy profession. He explains, “As more pharmacists complete such a program, the impact of their efforts on transforming the practice of community pharmacy will be exponential.” Osterhaus reports that the far-reaching effects of the residency make the investment of time and energy to train the residents a positive experience. “Having a resident does require a commitment of time and resources to ensure that you provide a meaningful experience. However, the value they provide to the pharmacy and to the future of the profession is immense,” he concludes.