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Certification, Accreditation, and Credentialing for 503A Compounding Pharmacies

Author(s):  Pritchett Jon, McCrory Gary, Kraemer Cheri, Jensen Brenda, Allen Loyd V Jr

Issue:  Jan/Feb 2018 - Volume 22, Number 1
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Abstract:  The terms certification, accreditation, and credentialing are often used interchangeably when they apply to compounding-pharmacy qualifications, but they are not synonymous. The reasons for obtaining each, the requirements for each, and the benefits of each differ. Achieving such distinctions can negatively or positively affect the status of a pharmacy among peers and prescribers as well as a pharmacy’s relationships with third-party payors. Changes in the third-party payor industry evolve constantly and, we suggest, will continue to do so. Compounding pharmacists must be aware of those changes to help ensure success in a highly competitive marketplace. To our knowledge at the time of this writing, there is no certification program for compounding pharmacists, although pharmacy technicians can achieve certification and may be required to do so by the state in which they practice (a topic beyond the scope of this article). For that reason, we primarily address accreditation and credentialing for 503A compounding pharmacies. In this article, the evolution of the third-party payment system for compounds is reviewed; the definitions of certification, accreditation, and credentialing are examined; and the benefits and recognition of obtaining accredited or credentialed status are discussed. Suggestions for selecting an appropriate agency that offers accreditation or credentialing, preparing for and undergoing an onsite survey, responding to findings, and maintaining a pharmacy practice that enables a successful survey outcome are presented. The personal experience of author CK during accreditation and credentialing is discussed, as is the role of a consultant (author BJ) in helping compounders prepare for the survey process. A list of agencies that offer accreditation and credentialing for compounding pharmacies is included for easy reference.

Related Keywords: Jon Pritchett, PharmD, RPh, Gary McCrory, RPh, CCN, Cheri Kraemer, RPh, Brenda Jensen, CPhT, CNMT, MBA, Loyd V. Allen, Jr., PhD, RPh, certification, accreditation, credentialing, third party payment, 503A compounding pharmacies, onsite survey, pharmacy staff, pharmacy technicians, compounding facilities, compounding practices, business practices, accrediting agencies, Accreditation Commission for Health Care, Pharmacy Compounding Advisory Board, Joint Commission, PersonalMed, qualifications, competence, proficiency, expertise, environment, Pharmacy Technician Certification Board, Certified Compounded Sterile Preparation Technician certification, pharmacy benefits managers, PBM, USP standards, consultants, SOPs, standard operating procedures


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