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Ann Pharmacother. 2005 Apr;39(4):655-61. Epub 2005 Feb 22.

Pharmacists' participation in an inhaled respiratory medication program: reimbursement of professional fees.

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Drug Use Management and Policy, College of Pharmacy, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.



An intervention (termed Initiative) was initiated to facilitate converting beneficiaries of a public drug insurance program in the province of Nova Scotia from respiratory nebulization medications to inhalers. Community pharmacists provided patient education and billed professional fees for conversions or optimizing inhaled respiratory medication technique.


To determine community pharmacists' self-reported participation rate and identify facilitators and barriers to billing for professional fees.


A survey was developed and mailed to Nova Scotia pharmacists. Information on demographics, work environment, professional experience, financial aspects, billing experiences, and the billing process was collected. Quantitative and qualitative data were evaluated using bivariate and multivariate analyses, and a thematic process, respectively.


Two hundred ninety-seven pharmacists responded. Self-reported billing rates for fees were 34% (switching delivery devices), 58% (optimizing AeroChamber use), and 37% (follow-up when replacing Aerochambers). Awareness of fees and the perception of consistent claim reimbursement were associated with billing for each fee (p < 0.05). Predisposing billing factors included awareness of fees, identifying situations requiring education, owner/manager position, male gender, perception that billing for education for optimizing technique is a minimum standard of practice, and prescription volume. Themes identified as barriers included inefficient billing process, inadequate fees, and lack of Initiative awareness.


Predisposing factors were the most important facilitators of community pharmacists' participation in this program, while a cumbersome and time-consuming billing process was the primary barrier. Further research should determine the impact of the professional fee on patient health outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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