Diabetes prevention program aims to help pharmacies build brand

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Friday, June 19, 2020

YARMOUTH, Maine – In many parts of the country, community pharmacists are often the most accessible health care providers, says the National Community Pharmacists Association. That’s a big reason why the association was recently awarded a contract by the Centers for Disease Control to help independent pharmacies prevent Type 2 diabetes, says John Beckner, NCPA’s senior director of strategic initiatives.

“We really felt like our members were in a great position to offer this, particularly those that were in rural, underserved areas, which aligns with the CDC’s goals for the program,” he said.

Per the program, pharmacies will be able to offer the National Diabetes Prevention Program in partnership with the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists and OmniSYS. The program is already underway, with 18 participating pharmacies in the initial phase.

Beckner spoke with HME News recently about the contract, how it benefits both patients and pharmacies, and the need to make such programs sustainable.

HME News: How does the CDC contract allow independent pharmacies to develop a diabetes prevention program?

John Beckner: The idea is to defray some of the costs the pharmacy would incur.

HME: Do the pharmacies get any other support for the program?

Beckner: NCPA is providing a lot of educational resources if they have questions or concerns. It’s in our best interest for these to be successful so we re going to do whatever we can to make sure they are successful.

HME: How did you select the pharmacies that are participating?

Beckner: We had a list of criteria. One was, they have current or previous involvement in patient care programs, whether its diabetes self-management, or immunizations or health screenings. We also looked at those pharmacies that were planning to utilize someone other than a pharmacist. For this to be sustainable beyond the scope of the contract, they really need to look at non-pharmacists, such as a technician or community outreach worker, with reaching out to patients and teaching classes.

HME: This benefits patients, obviously, but how does it benefit pharmacists?

Beckner: Just being able to offer those services, you brand your pharmacy as a destination for people with diabetes or as a wellness-type brand. By establishing that wellness brand, they can hopefully attract additional customers into the store. Ultimately, we hope to get these folks full CDC recognition for these types of services and the pharmacist needs to be reimbursed so we need to make it sustainable.