Pharmacist underpayments results in adverse events, citations, investigation finds

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Antipsychotic drug use correlated to staffing levels
Antipsychotic drug use correlated to staffing levels

Nursing homes that provide below-average consultant pharmacist salaries may be getting what they pay for, a state investigation suggests.

California pharmacists are routinely failing to red-flag prescriptions for antipsychotics for nursing home residents, according to an investigation by local newspapers and the California's Department of Public Health.

The state investigators said there's a “probable correlation” between the flimsy review of nursing home patients' medications by pharmacists and the failure of those nursing homes to pay a fair market rate for the pharmacists' services, the New York Times reported. 

Two-thirds of nursing facilities that were cited in the investigation were accepting pharmacy services below cost. Some facilities paid consulting pharmacists between $11 and $19 per hour, which is well below the $56.29 per hour that's considered a fair market rate.

In other prescription medication news, a proposed rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services aims to save $17.7 billion over five years on prescription medications purchased by Medicaid beneficiaries. The new proposed reimbursement rates will better reflect the price pharmacies pays for the drugs, and offer rebates for beneficiaries who receive medications through Medicaid managed care organizations, according to CMS.

Click here to read the proposed rule. The comment period will end April 2.