Two different organizations recently published draft standards for the accreditation of community pharmacies. The organizations are URAC (www.urac.org), which has accreditation programs in place for a variety of entities, including patient-centered health care homes and mail-service pharmacy programs; and the Center for Pharmacy Practice Accreditation, a newly established joint venture of the American Pharmacists Association and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. Comment periods for both sets of draft standards close in mid-August.
Although the proposed standards deal primarily with facility quality review and operational aspects of community pharmacy practice, some standards touch on issues regarding the quality of patient care services offered within the community pharmacy setting. ACCP’s comments suggested the need for a specific standard on the credentialing of pharmacists within these practices that would ensure the alignment of pharmacists’ qualifications with the scope of services being offered or promoted within that practice setting. ACCP’s comments were submitted to both organizations and are presented below in abridged form:
ACCP urges the inclusion of a standard … that ensures that the community pharmacy practice being evaluated has a process/procedure in place, and consistently uses that process/procedure, to document the qualifications, training, voluntary post-licensure certifications, and/or other skill sets that align with and ensure the quality of the scope of services proposed to be offered by the practice. For example, if a community pharmacy provides, advertises, [and] promotes … patient care services in areas such as outpatient oncology care, nutrition support, and immunization practices, documentation of the qualifications and training of one or more pharmacists in that practice exists to safely and appropriately provide those specialized services.
ACCP further suggests that consideration be given to establishing “tiers” of accreditation that may be relevant to the comment above. Examples in other accreditation spheres would include CMS’s tiered recognition of patient-centered medical home (PCMH) practices or the “graduated” accreditation status of newly established schools of pharmacy as they progress through various points of degree program implementation and delivery. This would allow an incorporation of both minimal and “aspirational” standards as community pharmacies evolve into practices more fully focused on direct patient care services.