Managed Care

Public would pay for pharmacist input

A lot of people appear willing to pay pharmacies for medication therapy management (MTM) services, according to a survey reported in Consultant Pharmacist. Participants in three Florida cities and were asked if they would be willing to pay for certain services based on the proportion of the payment that would be out of pocket, and about 70 percent said they would pay the traditional 20 percent copayment.

Survey questions focused on common services that pharmacists are capable of performing for an ambulatory population. “Willingness to pay” was based on common payment levels that patients are accustomed to paying when insurance is involved.

Willingness to pay was measured on a five-point Likert scale, ranging from “strongly agreeing” with the statements in the survey to “strongly disagreeing.” The payment levels of 0 percent, 20 percent, and 100 percent were used to mirror other medical and professional expenses and comparable insurance coverage for those services. Michael J. Schuh, PharmD, MBA, an ambulatory pharmacist in the department of pharmacy at the Mayo Clinic– Jacksonville and lead researcher, noted an inverse relationship between out-of-pocket expense and willingness to pay, i.e., willingness to pay increased as out-of-pocket payments decreased.

“In the population I see clinically, they are more educated, better off economically, and don’t mind paying $100 to $200 for the service out of pocket,” says Schuh.

Respondents had been asked what topics they sought help for from their pharmacist. These topics were insurance (49 percent), general health (24.7 percent), side effects (19.6 percent), over-the-counter medications (17.5 percent), drug interactions (13.4 percent), and dosing (5.2 percent).

Source: Schuh MJ, Droege M. Cognitive services provided by pharmacists: Is the public willing to pay for them? 2008. Consul Pharm. 23(3):223–228

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