Clinical pharmacy jobs grow with managed care

Stradtlanders Managed Pharmacy Services, a national pharmaceutical company in Pittsburgh that specializes in disease management, has doubled the size of its managed care clinical pharmacy division over the past 12 months, says the division’s vice president, Gordon Vanscoy, PharmD, MBA. "We’ve seen tremendous interest in managed care clinical pharmacy, and a lot of movement from the traditional hospital acute care into a practice in managed care," he says. Stradtlanders employs more than 100 pharmacists and 15 clinical specialists. "My colleagues on the hospital side are seeing an unprecedented turnover in the medical center side as people in the profession who are not trained on the cost justification of their positions [and] don’t like that environment [seek] an environment where that is not in the forefront." Adds Vanscoy, "In retail or community pharmacy, there’s still a demand, but it’s no longer a pharmacists’ market. All the mergers, acquisitions, and retail store closings are creating a glut of job applicants. To make the job situation worse, more efficient systems, like mail service, increase every year."

Richard Fry, director of pharmacy affairs for the Association of Managed Care Pharmacists, says he’s seen some shifting in the last year by managed care clinical pharmacists into private consulting practices or contracting with physician groups. "A lot really depends on the managed care penetration in a geographic area," he says. "PBMs are picking up a number of clinical pharmacists to administer their programs for disease management or other specific clinical programs their clients want." He also cites counseling, formulary management, quality, and critical pathways development as other growth areas.

Also, consider these statistics published this summer in the Hoechst Marion Roussel Managed Care Institutional Digest for 1997. Compiled by SMG Marketing Group in Chicago, the report said that in 1995, staffing for registered pharmacists rose 14.3% in nonprofit multihospital systems, causing the ratios of registered pharmacists per occupied beds to increase from .07 to .08.

In for-profit systems, the ratio of registered pharmacists remained the same at .08 per occupied bed from 1994 through 1995, while in government multihospital systems, ratios rose from .09 to .10. For hospitals overall — nonprofit, for-profit, or government-run — those in or out of a multihospital system maintained an overall .08 ratio from 1994 through 1995.

[For more information, contact Gordon Vanscoy, PharmD, MBA, Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics, University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, 1104 Salk Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15261. Telephone: (412) 825-8331.]