PBM Pharmacists’ Role in Patient Care at CVS Health

This article was originally posted internally on the CVS Health colleague intranet.

Did you know CVS Caremark employs nearly 2,000 pharmacists and many more pharmacy technicians in our mail service and specialty pharmacy businesses?

These colleagues have unique opportunities to work in areas different from a traditional pharmacy setting, including operations management, training, prior authorization, coverage determination and appeals, operations technology and professional practice.

Mail service pharmacist Tim Burns, R.Ph., Pharm. D, and Specialty pharmacist Vini T. Mathew, Pharm. D., share how their roles differ from the retail setting.

Tim Burns, Wilkes Barre Mail Pharmacy, Pennsylvania
Tim Burns, Wilkes Barre Mail Pharmacy, Pennsylvania

Prescription verification and quality control are important elements of my job. I use dual screens to ensure that prescription information from the physician has been entered correctly on the patient’s account. I examine the patient’s medications and look for interactions or duplicate therapies. If we see an interaction or duplicate therapy, we contact the prescriber to alert them of potential issues, and take calls from the office to resolve issues.

I also counsel patients on the importance of medication adherence, and recently become involved in part of our medication therapy management program (MTM). The program identifies patients who have multiple chronic disease states and are on eight or more medications, who could benefit from the expertise of a pharmacist’s comprehensive, targeted medication review. We spend 20-40 minutes on the phone with each patient, discussing how their prescriptions and over-the-counter medications may affect each other, offering ways to manage their conditions, advising on adherence and safety, and even reviewing prescription costs. I’m able to use the skills I acquired in pharmacy school to talk with patients, listen to them, provide advice, and keep them safe and adherent to their medications.

Vini Mathew, Troy Specialty Pharmacy, Michigan Vini Mathew, Troy Specialty Pharmacy, Michigan 

As a Specialty pharmacist, my role is to dispense and provide therapy management for patients who take high-cost specialty medications, requiring special handling or storage, and have a limited or restricted distribution. We provide patient-focused services such as therapy/disease state counseling, ongoing assessment for response and adverse effects, also interventions that can improve clinical outcomes.

As part of the geo-preferencing strategy to dispense from pharmacies closest to patients, other CVS Specialty pharmacies and Centers of Excellences send their specialty orders to us. We are able to verify the front-end of an order, and have back-end capabilities to ship out the orders.

I’ve been with CVS Health almost six years, and I’m most proud of the optimum care and excellent service our team provides to the CVS Specialty patient and to the prescriber’s office.

The pharmacy  service representatives, pharmacy technicians and operations assistants at our Troy location are dedicated and caring colleagues, and together, we help patients on their path to better health.

We recently updated our Pharmacist hiring section on our career site. Our pharmacists continue to build that trust by providing our patients with the best advice and caring guidance to every patient, every day.

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Our goal is continuous learning, so once you have completed your initial training, you can look forward to many more development opportunities as your skills grow. You will gain experience in other areas of the business, preparing you to advance your career. Often, our leaders are selected from current staff members who have demonstrated their ability to thrive in our fast-paced environment.

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We encourage creativity and innovation, and we are always looking for new ideas to improve quality and operate more efficiently. As a CVS Health employee, your contributions are highly valued, and you can be confident that your voice is heard.

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