Wednesday, March 21, 2018
January 2016
President's Message - Ringing in the New Year - A Time for Change
Let me start by wishing you all a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year! If my resolution was to eat healthy through the holidays I guess I failed miserably. I would guess I am not alone in that department. Looking back, it is still hard for me to believe that 2015 went by so quickly. But, here we are about to embark on our journey through 2016 with one thing we know with absolute certainty; that a sea of change will continue to sweep over healthcare. Change is inevitable as organizations and systems try to align themselves with the rapidly changing healthcare environment. Pharmacy is no stranger to change, and we as professionals will continue to position ourselves to meet it head on.

While many people hate the word “change,” they also admit that it will provide the opportunity to reinforce the importance of our role in the care of patients. Both government and healthcare organizations will be keenly listening for new ideas that enhance care while promoting fiscal responsibility. In an age of rapidly escalating drug prices it becomes quite evident that pharmacy expertise is a necessary part of any serious program to address the appropriate use of medication.

We are fortunate in New Jersey that we have a number of pharmacy leaders and practitioners that are at the forefront of change. They continually use their job knowledge, networking and teaching skills to foster a dialogue on important issues such as transition of care, provider status, antimicrobial resistance, opioid abuse, and various new ways of benchmarking pharmacy services.

At NJSHP we also must deal with change as we seek to provide a more meaningful membership experience to those of you who have chosen to take an active role in determining your future. To that end the Board has used these past 6 months to advance a number of important tasks:

  • Preparation for a strategic planning session that will focus on “social media” so that NJSHP can utilize currently available communication tools to bring more value to membership
  • Planning a Transitions of Care Practice Based Program under the guidance of the NJSHP Council on Educational Affairs – we hope this will be a certificate program that qualifies under CDTM
  • Working with the Annual Meeting Committee on what is shaping up to be a great 2016 Annual Meeting (March 17th and 18th, 2016)
  • A proposed revision of the Constitution and Bylaws that will be going to ASHP and the membership for approval
  • A revision of the Society’s Policy and Procedure Manual to ensure it is up to date and meets our current and future needs

As I move past the halfway point in my term as President, I want to continue to focus on the things that are important to you; the membership. That is why I hope that you will continue to contact me or other members of the Board if you have an idea to discuss or if you want to serve in a more official capacity to help the Society better serve the membership.

In closing I want to say thank you on behalf of the Board for being members of NJSHP!

Steven Aragona
President, NJSHP




FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2016

(732) 571-4000

Please mark your calendar and register at:!

Tri-State Health-System Pharmacy Summit 2016 - Friday, September 30th
Please mark your calendar to attend our 4th annual Tri-State Summit (NJ, NY, CT), which will be convened on September 30th at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Tarrytown, 455 South Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591. More details will follow.
How Can I Help?
...Easy Ways to Get Involved
  1. Renew your membership or join NJSHP if you are not currently a member.
  2. Attend Chapter meetings.
  3. Attend the Annual Meeting. SAVE-THE-DATES - March 17th - 18th, 2016.
  4. Volunteer for committee work, either on the Chapter or State level. There are a lot of little things to be done that don’t take a lot of time or commitment.
  5. Talk to at least two pharmacist and/or technician non-members this year about NJSHP’s purpose and goals.
  6. Give specific feedback (positive OR negative) to NJSHP officers at least once yearly.
  7. Join ASHP if you aren’t already a member; if you are, make sure to renew.
  8. Volunteer to contribute an article or opinion piece to the NJSHP Newsbrief.
  9. Learn about NJSHP’s Public Policy Committee; become politically involved!
Celebrate your hard work and dedication in your pharmacy career! Share your accomplishments with NJSHP! Our monthly Newsbriefs is an excellent opportunity to provide education and information about your contributions to the practice of pharmacy. Your story can be an inspiration to others! So don’t be shy. To submit your contribution, please contact Stella Williams at 609-936-2205 or email at We’d love to hear from you!
NJSHP Recruitment Site
Looking for a job or to attract a candidate to your organization? Take advantage of NJSHP’s Recruitment Site designed especially to connect our members with new employment opportunities. Job seekers and employers can post resumes/positions and manage their accounts easily. Check out this special site here.
Budget Deal Boosts FDA's 2016 Funding
Kate Traynor

BETHESDA, MD 23 Dec 2015—The budget package that President Obama signed in December includes a 5% boost in funding for FDA compared with the agency's 2015 funding allotment, for a total of about $4.7 billion.

"We're very happy to see that," said Joseph Hill, Director of Government Relations for ASHP.

Read More

Selexipag Approved for Treatment of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
Cheryl A. Thompson

BETHESDA, MD 23 Dec 2015—FDA and Actelion Pharmaceuticals US Inc. on Tuesday announced the approval of selexipag, or Uptravi, for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension.

When taken long term, selexipag can reduce hospitalization for pulmonary arterial hypertension and the risk of disease progression compared to placebo, FDA said.

Read More

CMS Sends Pharmacists Some Good News for Medicare Part B
[January 15, 2016, AJHP News]

Cheryl A. Thompson

BETHESDA, MD 21 Dec 2015—In issuing the Medicare Part B payment policies for 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has preserved the centralized service–billing option for pharmacists' work in anticoagulation clinics and made the payment policy for biosimilars analogous to the one for multiple-source drugs.

And, according to an expert on payment for pharmacists' services, CMS has signaled openness to the idea of recognizing ambulatory care pharmacists' clinical labor as part of the direct cost of operating physician practices.

Read more

ASHP’s 50th Midyear Lives up to Its Reputation as "World's Largest Gathering of Pharmacists"

More than 22,000 pharmacists, residents, pharmacy students, and industry representatives from the U.S. and 45 other countries took advantage of the wide range of educational sessions, special events, and networking opportunities offered December 6-10 at ASHP’s 50th Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition in New Orleans.

The meeting kicked off with a capacity crowd at the Opening General Session, which featured a special video celebrating the history of the Midyear; a tribute to ASHP CEO Emeritus Joseph A. Oddis, Sc.D.; and ASHP awards. The session also featured keynote speakers former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush. The pair’s daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, served as a surprise moderator for the keynote.

Read more

ASHP and ACPE Update Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Standards
Changes Expand Flexibility in Experiential Practice Settings and Compounding Activities


On the recommendation of the Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC), ASHP (the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists) and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) boards of directors have updated the Accreditation Standards for Pharmacy Technician Education and Training Programs. The update expands the flexibility of training programs to meet requirements regarding the number and types of student experiential activities that must be performed, requiring at least one and encouraging two different contemporary pharmacy practice experiences. Accredited pharmacy technician education and training programs include didactic education in sterile and nonsterile compounding; accredited programs, however, may now determine whether they provide hands-on training in sterile compounding, nonsterile compounding, or both. These changes will take effect on January 1, 2016.

Read more

Pharmacy News
Dashboards Gain Traction for Streamlining Care
Pharmacy Practice News (12/28/15) Blum, Karen
Health systems that must navigate a morass of medication management data streaming through the pharmacy department are increasingly resorting to technology. Their preferred tools are often dashboard-based software systems to help triage what requires immediate attention compared to other tasks that can be de-prioritized without compromising patient care. One such tool is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHSP) Pharmacy Ambulatory Care Tracker (PACT). This is a mobile app and companion dashboard designed to help ambulatory care pharmacists log the details of their patient encounters. The free app enables pharmacists to track each intervention with points assigned to it according to its complexity, says the ASHSP's Jack Bruggeman. "PACT initial attempt for pharmacists to be able to see themselves and to show the CFO [chief financial officer]/CEO or anyone else, 'Here's the range of things we're doing,'" Bruggeman notes. The decision to build a dashboard tool from scratch or buy a commercially available product "really depends on the resources you have available," notes the Cleveland Clinic's Samuel Calabrese. "My best advice is if you can find a company that can adapt to your workflow and organization, that's the best of both worlds."
McKesson IDs 5 2016 Trends for Hospital/Health System Pharmacies
Drug Store News (12/07/15) Johnsen, Michael
The McKesson Pharmacy Optimization team has identified five trends anticipated to impact hospital and health system pharmacies in 2016. McKesson discussed these trends with health systems pharmacy leaders at the recent American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Clinical Meeting 2015. McKession predicted continued growth in the specialty pharmaceuticals market, with spending growth outpacing that of the overall pharmaceutical market. Another trend is health systems increasingly regarding pharmacies as a revenue and margin generator and less of a cost center. The pharmacy can have significant impact on the overall P&L of a health system by focusing on incremental revenue opportunities such as ambulatory, specialty, and mail-order pharmacy services. Industry consolidation is also expected to increase, triggering a need for supply chain efficiency. McKesson also predicts increased oversight of the 340B Program. New guidance from the Health Resources and Services Administration contains clarifications of existing 340B program elements, so 340B health systems and pharmacies should conduct a comprehensive evaluation of their current programs to identify if the guidance will create any gaps in their program and how these changes could affect their business. Another trend is leveraging pharmacy analytics to make strategic business decisions. Initiatives such as the Commonwell Health Alliance are making progress in making healthcare data available and accessible to providers across care settings.
Hospitals Launch Specialty Pharmacies to Curb Drug Costs
Business Insurance (12/15/15) Evans, Melanie
Specialty drug spending has increased by 60 percent over the past five years, prompting some large health systems to enter the specialty pharmacy business. ExceleraRx Corp. is a for-profit specialty pharmacy services company owned by six health systems. ExceleraRx provides services to system-owned specialty pharmacies, such as negotiating with drugmakers and handling data reporting. It also provides comprehensive care, which includes managing patients' costly prescriptions for cancer or chronic diseases to reduce waste and curb complications. Phoenix-based Banner Health launched its specialty pharmacy in 2014, when it hired three clinical pharmacists, three patient advocates, and three staff members to support operations. The system also spent $1 million on a drug-dispensing robot for the specialty pharmacy's new home-delivery service. In the first year, Banner reduced 1 percent of its specialty drug spending for about 1,200 workers and their families covered by the system's employee health plan. Cleveland Clinic also opened its specialty pharmacy roughly a year ago, and estimates it will recoup its upfront investment from the specialty pharmacy's profits within 16 months of opening.
Adding a Human Touch to Technology
Pharmacy Practice News (12/28/15) Rosenthal, Marie
The University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) has implemented various technological solutions to improve the accuracy of its medication preparation processes. Barcode scanning and visual verification is relied on to ensure the correct drug is put in the correct IV bag, according to UCH Pharmacy Manager Alan Oldland. “We scan it, get the components ready to make it, and the pharmacist, who does a visual check, also scans the label and double-checks to make sure there are 'greens' across the board,” he says. Barcode scanning also is employed for oral medications, and Oldland says the use of these methods has reduced UCH's error rate because “with scanning, there is no question about what is going into the bag. You either have the right thing in the bag or you don't.” Meanwhile, a recent study published in Hospital Pharmacy found the integration of unit dosing, automated dispensing cabinets (ADCs) with barcoding, and staff education lowered technical dispensing mistakes and boosted patient safety. They used each technology in a stepwise manner starting with unit drug dosing, then ADCs, and lastly verification via barcoding. The researchers compared the effects of each addition by recording all technical errors found during the pharmacist's visual check across several 28-day periods over several years. The addition of unit dosing led to an error rate of 0.157 percent, and then ADC deployment decreased it to 0.135 percent. With barcoding and staff education, the error rate eventually shrank to 0.050 percent.
Pharmacists Play Key Role in Mitigating Medication Errors
Medscape (12/14/15) Barbor, Meg
Pharmacists can play a central role in reducing the frequency and effects of medication errors during code situations, according to research presented at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) 2015 Midyear Clinical Meeting in New Orleans. "Medication errors are probably more common than we think they are in code situations, and these put patients at risk for adverse effects," said Alexander Flannery, PharmD, a critical care pharmacist in the medical intensive care unit at the University of Kentucky HealthCare in Lexington. "It's easy to see how the chaos of these situations can create issues, and pharmacists need to be ready for circumstances that aren't necessarily in the guidelines," he added. Some studies have demonstrated the protective effect of having a pharmacist present, and the ASHP and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices recommend the presence of a pharmacist in code situations. "The ASHP has a guideline on minimal requirements for hospitals, which states that pharmacists should be members of the cardiopulmonary response resuscitation team," said Asad Patanwala, PharmD, from the College of Pharmacy at the University of Arizona in Tucson. "If institutions don't have pharmacists, they should," he stated.
5 Supply Chain Management Questions and Answers
RevCycle Intelligence (12/28/15) DiChiara, Jacqueline
The healthcare sector gained insight into five supply chain management issues this past year, including whether budgeting variation should be more clearly identified. A study from Arizona State University estimated supplies cover around 15 percent of an average hospital's operating budget, while another from Materials Management in Health Care estimated as much as 40 percent. “In most provider organizations[,] supply chain management and revenue cycle operations function in silos, occasionally responding to anecdotal evidence to make improvements in the processes linking the two areas,” the first study's researchers say. "Hospitals and healthcare systems that become proficient in managing the revenue environment achieve strategic advantage by reaching their financial goals and assuring a stream of revenues to support their clinical efforts.” A second question concerns whether "invisible cost" hurts revenue cycle management, and Simpler Healthcare's James Spann says executives come up short in ensuring the right processes and standardization of procedures are in place. Factors that lead to needless costs in healthcare supply chains include nonstandard ordering and delivery methods, varying drug formulary across pharmacies, clinicians hoarding supplies, drug diversion, and a dearth of intelligence and visibility about what inventory is redundant, what can be corrected, and what requires upgrading. Spann argues for building a lean supply chain to address this issue. Meanwhile, McKinsey research highlights collaboration and standardization as basic to successful supply chain management, with focal points including inventory management, data management, and customer demand management. The fifth issue shows greater transparency bolsters alignment efforts, with one expert citing real-time consumption and inventory data recording as particularly valuable for greater cost savings.
Integration, the Holy Grail of IT, Gains Traction
Pharmacy Practice News (12/01/15) Vol. 42, Blum, Mary
Although some hospitals have achieved progress on integration efforts, the majority are only partially integrated, says Allie Woods, PharmD, the director of pharmacy informatics and technology at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Many hospitals use an assortment of software, such as Boston Children’s Hospital. Its pharmacists conduct most of their work through PharmNet, an application built into Cerner's electronic health records (EHR), as well as Talyst carousels for patient-specific medications and resupplying to various clinics; Pyxis for automated dispensing cabinets; DoseEdge, a workflow monitor for IV drug preparation; and QC Pathfinder for antimicrobial stewardship. An internally created solution tracks medications from the time they are ordered to their delivery to the nursing unit. Karl Gumpper, RPh, the hospital's pharmacy informatics manager, meets with his team weekly to ensure any changes in any of the applications are inputted throughout the programs. The Johns Hopkins Health System is in the process of moving all of its pharmacy order verification systems for five hospitals under a single electronic medical records system, says Brian Pinto, PharmD, MBA, the assistant director of clinical informatics and medication policy. "If patients move among different hospitals within our system, or between the ambulatory and acute care setting, staff have to access multiple electronic records to gather all the information about those patients' journeys," he says.
Drug Autoverification Bypassing Pharmacist has Pitfalls
Medscape (12/14/15) Barbor, Meg
Autoverification of prescription drug orders is meant to streamline a process typically done manually, but it has noticeable issues. At the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists 2015 Midyear Clinical Meeting, Eric Munson, PharmD, Beaumont Hospital-Dearborn in Michigan, laid out some problems with autoverification. Most importantly, bypassing pharmacists can result in inappropriate orders being sent out. While machines typically weed out orders that do not belong, they can still miss some and can malfunction completely if not turned on correctly. Barber said that machines will never be able to display one essential human trait. "We have something as pharmacists that the computers will never have, and I call that emotional intelligence," he said. "It's that feeling we get when we think that an order is just not right and we make an intervention." Barber urged practitioners to learn everything they can about their autoverification system, including how it works and what its tendencies are. He also suggested installing a "do-not-autoverify" list of drugs to avoid medication errors.
Pharmacist Warns Against Over-Prescribing Antibiotics
Daytona Beach News Journal (12/18/15) Haug, Jim
Matthew Bazel, clinical coordinator for pharmacy at Florida Hospital DeLand and clinical assistant professor at the University of Florida, cautions against over-prescribing antibiotics. Research has shown as much as 50 percent of the time, antibiotics are prescribed when they are not needed or they are misused, such as giving a patient the wrong dose. Antibiotics have side effects and can also interact or interfere with the effects of other medicines. The inappropriate use of antibiotics unnecessarily promotes antibiotic resistance, impeding the ability of antibiotics to stop future infections. In some cases, doctors fail to order lab tests to confirm an infection is caused by bacteria, or patients demand treatment for conditions, such as a viral infection or cold, even though antibiotics will not help. Bazel says in 2013, Florida Hospital DeLand launched a formal antimicrobial stewardship program and in 2014, the program was expanded to four other Florida Hospitals in Volusia and Flagler counties. The majority of hospitals nationwide still need to start an antimicrobial stewardship program. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), just 39.2 percent of hospitals had implemented the programs in 2014. Bazel says new guidelines, action plans, and standards are widely available, such as the CDC Get Smart program, the Infectious Disease Society of America guidelines, and American Thoracic Society guidelines.
Progress, Hurdles in IV Sterile Compounding Arena
Pharmacy Practice News (12/01/15) Vol. 42, Frandzel, Steve
In the wake of the widespread contamination of steroid injections from the New England Compounding Center in 2012, many hospitals took a hard look at strengthening their in-house production of compounded sterile products (CSPs). Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) started expanding its sterile compounding capacity on several fronts prior to the crisis. "We outsource very little now, mostly TPN [total parenteral nutrition] and epidural solutions, a few specialty items, and perhaps things we can't get because of drug shortages, but we brought the bulk of the batch volume back into our facility," says Bill Churchill, MS, RPh, the chief of pharmacy services at BWH. In October 2015, a negative-pressure hazardous-drug cleanroom was launched. The cleanroom includes a chemotherapy compounding robot and a carousel for storing hazardous drugs. The room will be in full compliance with the anticipated United States Pharmacopeial Convention’s (USP) Chapter <800> standards, which define practice and quality standards for handling hazardous drugs in health care settings, Churchill notes. Within the next 15 to 18 months, he also anticipates the construction of a 503b-registered, centralized compounding facility to supply BWH and the other 12 hospitals in the Partners HealthCare system, generating about 2 million doses of CSPs annually.
January 2016
Daiichi Sankyo
Fairleigh Dickinson University School of Pharmacy
Grifols USA
H. D. Smith
Pharmatek Systems
Teva Oncology
The Medicines Company
VigiLanz Corporation

To be visibly engaged in the enhancement of healthcare through professional development of our members in the practice of pharmacy.

New Jersey Society of Health-System Pharmacists
760 Alexander Rd
P.O. Box 1
Princeton, NJ 08543-0001
(609) 936-2205

e-mail link
web link

About ASHP
ASHP is a 35,000-member national professional association that represents pharmacists who practice in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, long-term care facilities, home care, and other components of health care systems. ASHP is the only national organization of hospital and health-system pharmacists and has a long history of improving medication use and enhancing patient safety.

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
7272 Wisconsin Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814

e-mail link
web link

Home   |   Membership   |   Chapters   |   Councils   |   Events   |   Resources   |   Employment   |   About Us
Copyright 2017 by NJSHP