James M. Berklan

Frank Grosso has done a lot in his 67 years. But he’s not done. That much he wants to make abundantly clear.

He’s stepping aside soon as an employee at the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, as has been previously reported. That will take place after the group’s annual meeting ends May 19.

But until then, he’s going to expand a little more on his 3½-year legacy he built while at the top of the ASCP masthead.

He’s much too polite to say it, but Grosso, RPh, was just the right prescription at the right time to bolster a group sliding in terms of name recognition, membership and other important qualities. The train is back on track, membership has risen and Grosso has handed the baton to new CEO Chad Worz, PharmD, BCGP, who is completing his second full week on the job.

“I’m in a great spot,” Grosso told me Wednesday. “I had probably the most incredible experience of my career the last three-and-a-half years. I’m leaving [ASCP] in better shape than I came in, and we have a great new CEO.”

During his tenure, the society launched new online association and learning management systems and created new websites for ASCP and the ASCP Foundation.

His favorite achievement has been pulling together the group’s new senior care pharmacy directory. It’s a way to get members recognition and referrals for all the work they do, wherever they do it — not just in nursing homes. Grosso said he hopes to have 500 individuals and companies in the digital resource by the end of the year.

The directory is a perfect example of how a progressive leader can coax his group in changing times.

“When I started as a member [of ASCP] 40 years ago, everyone did the same thing. You owned a pharmacy and did some consulting,” the one-time corporate vice president at Genesis HealthCare explained. “Today, 70 percent of where they practice is not in the nursing home — places like one day surgery centers, primary care offices and a lot of other places … doing medication management.”

The effort recognizes the rising diversity in medication management. As payers have pressured beneficiaries into a broader variety of caregiving settings, pharmacists are doing their best to keep pace. They are perhaps more relevant than ever today, a goal Grosso has pressed for feverishly.

It dovetails with the four new sub-groups created under his tenure:

1) Pharmacy executives, as in someone who might manage a national operator’s pharmacy.

2) Consultant pharmacists independent of a pharmacy. They run a “true” consulting business.

3) Long-term care pharmacies and operators

4) And the newest group, for pharmacists serving home- and community-based pharmacists.

They meet at ASCP gatherings, in addition to the core program, Grosso noted.

“Pharmacists and providers have an opportunity to really change the model for the way pharmacists work with facilities,” he explained excitedly. “We’re seeing Medicare Advantage growing, shorter stays and more emphasis on rehospitalizations. The focus on medication management has never been greater, especially when sending people home.”

He noted that a 100-bed nursing home used to have perhaps eight admissions and discharges per month. Now the total could be 50 or 100 — ”and it taxes every aspect of the pharmacy and provider.”

They’re sound observations from a guy who’s heading back to his roots in the Boston area with his wife, Marylee. They have two sons and five grandchildren who figure to be on the receiving end of more attention thanks to the couple’s change of location.

After about a month of hiking in the Adirondacks and boating, Grosso figures he’ll be ready to re-engage the work world somehow.

“I’m on the [job] market,” he assures. “I want to do something with purpose. I’m not looking to be the next CEO of a company. I want to explore where I can create value, give purpose and … I just love technology and the regulatory aspect of it.”

Where that will take him, he doesn’t know. But he doesn’t seem too worried about it.

“The opportunity is for the pharmacy to really get on board as to how effective drugs are that are being selected,” he says of the business in general. “ I’m very optimistic.”

“We just have to look at the business with an open mind and not stick to the way we’ve done it for the last 40 years.”

He certainly isn’t, and given his example, neither should we.

Follow Editor James M. Berklan @JimBerklan.