Magazine article Drug Topics

Tough Week for Pharmacy

Magazine article Drug Topics

Tough Week for Pharmacy

Article excerpt

I'm a hospital pharmacist in Central Indiana, and at my hospital, National Pharmacy Week is a big deal. It is observed during the last full week of October each year, and National Pharmacy Technician Day is also observed during that week. We have always made it a big event, but this year we decided to go all out.

We'U remember this one

I was a member of the committee to promote National Pharmacy Week. We had buttons for pharmacists and technicians to wear, recognizing the week. Sales representatives from various companies brought in breakfast and lunch. To involve the rest of the hospital, we had contests and giveaways the whole week. I even wrote an article for the hospital newsletter that was published on Wednesday of that week to promote our department and all the services we provide.

That is what made it so sad and ironic when our hospital picked that Wednesday to make cuts in the pharmacy department staff, layoffs that included both technicians and pharmacists. Friends we had worked with for years and who had racked up significant service time were gone in minutes.

One of the ones who left put up a Facebook post that said, "Happy Pharmacy Week."

My employer said all the right things: The employees involved left on good terms and are eligible for rehire. The staff reduction was made in reaction to declining census and an expected decrease in revenues resulting from implementation of the ACA. It was just a sign of the times, a necessary cutback to help us stay viable. Had to do it, no other choice.

I wish I could believe that.

A mushrooming liability

Here's what I think. Pharmacists are expensive. When you get rid of four or five, you save a lot on payroll. We do a lot of clinical work; theoretically we save our hospital money in medication costs and readmissions, but we don't get paid for any of it. We still are paid only to dispense. …

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