Community pharmacies stepped up during Covid and changed drastically


There are 19 locations Throughout the Milwaukee area, Hayat Pharmacy focuses on providing quality healthcare to underserved people. For Hashim Zaibak, the pharmacist and boss, quality healthcare is not about dispensing medicine; it is about removing barriers that affect the health of his community. Hayat’s pharmacists and pharmaceutical technicians mean “life” in Arabic. They visit patients’ homes and the team speaks more than 20 different languages ​​and dialects. During these visits, Zaibak referred to it as “Medication Management” or MTM, and pharmacists introduced patients to their medical conditions, provided alternative methods of health management, administered antipsychotic drugs, and ensured that patients were taking their medications as prescribed.

This is a more sophisticated version of care than you would expect from a community pharmacy. The category covers everything from chain stores such as CVS and Walgreens, to grocery stores such as Kroger, to large retailers such as Wal-Mart, to small, independently-owned businesses on the street content. But even though the pharmacy is a commodity — and the pharmacist is the shuffler of pills from big to small bottles — has remained largely unchanged for decades, but things have changed in recent years, especially after Covid-19.

Today’s community pharmacists manage vaccines, manage chronic diseases, provide birth control measures, optimize medication regimens, and in some cases evaluate genetic markers for personalized medicine, to name a few. Unfortunately, the availability of these products varies from state to state, and also to the type of community pharmacy. On the professional side, community pharmacies have been advocating for enhanced services for decades, usually through legislative measures to legally identify pharmacists as health care providers and expand the role of pharmacy technicians.

The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent federal actions, such as the PREP Act, opened the switch for pharmacy practices in legislation. Almost overnight, pharmacy technicians, under the supervision of a qualified pharmacist and properly trained, were authorized to vaccinate children and vaccinate any eligible patients over 3 years of age against Covid-19 in October 2020. The PREP Act continues to change practices; the August 2021 amendment expands the authorization of pharmaceutical technicians to vaccinate patients of any age, similar to the Covid-19 vaccine. Legislators see community pharmacies as a way to fill the growing gap in healthcare. The pandemic has closed many healthcare practices and opened the door for pharmacies to intervene.

Hayat Pharmacy is one of many providers that use expanded authorization to better serve the community. In May 2020, it implemented a new clinical service: testing services-especially Covid-19 screening. Zaibak personally conducted the screening to show employees and patients the importance of this work. In the initial interview for this article, Zaibak was pulled to process the test patient, which is now a Delta variant.

When vaccines were available, Hayat Pharmacy stepped up its actions. It has an electronic registration system, but the community technology that Hayat serves has a low adoption rate, so most of the early vaccinations are given to eligible patients who do not need to make an appointment. Hayat Pharmacy emphasizes the care of the elderly, the sick and the underserved. It has immunized Milwaukee residents over 50,000. After the juvenile vaccine was approved, Zaibak gave his son the first dose of vaccine in the pharmacy.

Just as the role of community pharmacies has changed, so has its financial model. Dispensing is increasingly becoming the loss leader of pharmacies; in some states, the responsibility for dispensing has been transferred to pharmacy technicians, but is still under the direct supervision and supervision of pharmacists. It can be said that community pharmacists are over-trained and can only dispense medicines; the entry-level degree is a doctorate. Automation and technology help patients get medication, and pharmacists like Zaibak can do a good job of ensuring that patients know how to handle medication.

Optimizing medications-ensuring that proper dosages are allocated, monitoring adverse drug reactions to reduce injuries, and recommending specific treatments-are pharmacists’ ways of improving patient quality and care. It can also indirectly save health care expenditures. In 2016, the total costs incurred in the United States due to morbidity and mortality associated with non-optimized drug treatments were estimated at US$528.4 billion. The cost is higher than the prescription drug itself.To pay how The use of medication, as Zaibak’s team did during home visits, may be more important than paying for the medication itself, and it creates a different financial model beyond dispensing the medication.


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