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Urban and Suburban Community Pharmacists’ Experiences with Part D—A Focus Group Study

Shamima Khan

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Background: With the enactment of Medicare Part D, the provision of drug coverage for senior citizens in the US has changed permanently. Not much is currently known about the impact of Part D on urban and suburban pharmacies.

Objective: To explore community pharmacists’ experiences with Medicare Part D in urban and suburban areas of New York City and adjacent Long Island.

Methods: Seven focus groups were held between January 2010 and December 2010, 6 of which were held on St. John’s University campus. A convenience sample of pharmacists practicing in chain and independent settings participated in the study. Participation was voluntary and anonymous.

Results: Thirty pharmacists participated in the study. They reported that patients are facing challenges in reference to Part D, even 4 years after implementation of the program. Patients are often limited by their lack of computer skills, language skills, or level of education. Pharmacists also reported facing financial challenges because of “slow and low” reimbursement. Pharmacists were also dispensing more prescriptions, dealing with multiple plans, a variety of formularies, different copayments, and various prior authorization procedures.

CONCLUSIONS: With regard to Medicare Part D, the challenges faced by pharmacists practicing in some of the urban and suburban areas of New York State are somewhat comparable to those faced by pharmacists practicing in rural areas. Although the financial impact has been more detrimental to independently owned pharmacies, pharmacists practicing in chain settings expressed concerns.

J Pharm Technol 2012;28:249-57

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Harvey Whitney Books


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