The American Pharmacists Association Foundation, in collaboration with 20 community pharmacy practices and one of the top five health plans in the United States, have launched patient enrollment for Project IMPACT: CGM Access, with funding from the Helmsley Charitable Trust.
The project is a pilot credentialing program for community pharmacists that aims to increase access to CGM and improve diabetes care. It does so by integrating CGM devices and support services into the pharmacist workflow and ensuring pharmacists receive equitable payment for these services from insurers.
This program addresses a critical need: many people with diabetes lack access to CGM care and associated providers despite the device being recognized as the standard of care for people with Type 1 diabetes and people with Type 2 diabetes who use insulin. Roughly 90% of Americans live within 5 miles of a pharmacy, and increasingly pharmacists offer patient care services for people with diabetes, but this does not currently include CGM services.
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“Community pharmacists are well positioned, accessible, trusted by patients and can provide great care to people who may not otherwise receive care. This pilot will produce critical data to support the inclusion of CGM services in the suite of patient care services offered in the community pharmacy setting to increase access to quality diabetes care,” said Benjamin Bluml, executive director and senior vice president of Research & Innovation at the APhA Foundation.
The program is launching in 20 community pharmacies across the United States, a combination of chain and independent practices with a goal of 50 patients per site. Patient enrollment will be ongoing through Fall 2023, after which patients will receive monthly monitoring and management services throughout the remainder of 2023 and into 2024.
Project IMPACT: CGM Access will include training of pharmacists to initiate use of devices and includes the development of a pharmacist certification training program for CGM by APhA. Long term, the aim is to scale the project toward a national model for providing CGM services in pharmacies.
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Pharmacists need to be compensated for the CGM services they provide, but are often paid less than other providers, or not compensated at all, for the same service. Establishing a credentialing process that provides pharmacists with a direct payment mechanism for CGM services is essential to this project. As patients receive pharmacist-provided CGM care, it is expected that their overall outcomes will improve, allowing third-party payors to see the value their members obtain through receiving CGM services in pharmacies, the APhA Foundation said.
“Helmsley recognizes that pharmacists are trusted providers embedded within communities and are a crucial part of the diabetes care team,” said Laurel Koester, program officer at Helmsley. “Our partnership with The APhA Foundation gives us confidence that Project IMPACT: CGM Access will take us one step closer to making CGM services more accessible.”