Questions and Answers about Technicians in the Long-Term Care Pharmacy Setting

What is a Long-term care pharmacy?

Long-term care (LTC) pharmacies serve the residents of nursing homes, assisted-care facilities, extended-care facilities, and/or retirement homes. Usually these are “closed-door” pharmacies, meaning that someone cannot walk in and get a prescription filled like they could at a community retail pharmacy.

Who is employed at a LTC pharmacy?

A LTC pharmacy may employ pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, billing personnel, medical record technicians, managers, delivery drivers, IV compounding pharmacy techs, data entry technicians, durable medical equipment (DME) technicians, Information Technology personnel, human resource personnel, marketing pros and salesmen, and other staff as necessary.

What type of work are technicians expected to do at LTC pharmacies?

LTC pharmacy technicians may be required to do data entry work, fill prescriptions, repackage medications, update emergency kit medications, compound I.V.’s, answer phones, process refill requests, file prescription records, reorder medication stock, work with controlled medications, or engage in other duties as directed by a pharmacist or manager.

How does a LTC pharmacy handle their billing, and how is it different than how a community retail pharmacy handles their billing?

A LTC pharmacy usually bills the residents on a post-consumption basis. What this means is that the resident is only billed for the medication that he or she consumed, after they consume it. This is different from how a community retail pharmacy gets paid. A community retail pharmacy bills on a pre-consumption basis. The patient pays for the medication before they consume it.

How often does a LTC pharmacy fill a residents’ medication and how much medication is dispensed?

The LTC pharmacy I worked at for nearly 6 years dispensed a 10-day supply of medication for each resident on a weekly basis.

If a driver was late in delivering the med cart to the facility for any reason, the resident had 3 extra days supply of medication to cover them until the driver was able to deliver their medication.

What are “E-Kits”?

Techs employed by a LTC pharmacy may also update an “E-Kit” or an Emergency Kit for each facility.

These E-Kits were stocked with a 7-10 day supply of the most common medications each facility uses. The contents of each kit are determined by the pharmacy based on data from each facilities medication usage.

Nurses at each facility could take from the E-Kit if a new medication was prescribed and the patient needed to start taking it right away.

After taking from the E-Kit, the nursing home staff would fax the medication orders to the pharmacy. The pharmacy would then dispense the new medication and it would be delivered on the next scheduled delivery.

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