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  • Writer's pictureLindsay Wall, PharmD, RPh

Collaborative Practice Agreements 101

According to the CDC, about 71% of the U.S. total healthcare costs are associated with patients dealing with more than one chronic disease. Patients dealing with several chronic conditions account for 93% of Medicare’s healthcare costs.

There’s a growing demand to improve patient outcomes and decrease healthcare costs.

You can improve the factors above by forming collaborative practice agreements (CPAs). Now, what is a collaborative practice agreement? It’s a formal agreement between pharmacists and health care providers that expands the clinical role of pharmacists.

You can collaborate with a physician, nurse practitioner, or any other licensed prescriber. We’ll focus on using CPAs with physicians for this article since that’s the most common type of agreement.

What are some examples of the clinical decisions you can make using a CPA?

Some examples include:

● Changing or starting drug therapy

● Ordering, performing, and interpreting labs

● Conducting physical exams

The best part? Expanding your clinical role provides more revenue-generating opportunities and increases your overall autonomy. You also get to cut down on time spent reaching out to prescribers about various treatments.

You might be wondering, “how do I set up a collaborative practice agreement?”

5 Steps to Setting Up a Collaborative Practice Agreement

1. Build Trust and Communication with a Provider

A practical first step includes reaching out to a prescriber you already have a relationship with. Using this NCPA resource will guide you through the exact steps to do this. Building trust and open communication is a crucial first step in forming any strong relationship.

2. Develop a Business Plan

Your plan should lay out the details of how your CPA will work. All parties should ideally agree with these terms. You can also outline how much revenue you’ll gain with this plan in place and explain how it will fit into your workflow.

3. Create a Solid Collaborative Foundation

Make sure you have the technology, systems, and processes in place to ensure your CPA runs smoothly. It’s also helpful to have clearly defined roles for your employees.

4. Draft the Collaborative Practice Agreement

As a foundation, make sure you and the healthcare provider outline the methods you’ll use to manage specific diseases. You can outline clear reasons a particular intervention was or wasn’t made.

*These are general steps to setting up a CPA: specific rules vary from state to state.

The Bottom Line

Every day there’s an opportunity for you to improve your patient care interactions. Offering convenient clinical care services is an excellent choice. Plus, your clinical expertise and accessibility complement these types of services well.

However, we understand you’re busy and may not have the time to set up this type of structure on your own.

No worries! Reach out to us for personalized advice on your specific situation.

Additional resources:

How to Set Up Your CPAs from NASPA:

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