Shane Greene, director of pharmacy services for Care N’ Care, has long been a vocal advocate for elevating the role of pharmacy in patient care. In recognition of his work, Greene recently was named to fellowship status in the Texas Society of Health-System Pharmacists (TSHP).
“Pharmacists have a unique ability to look at a patient's overall health in a way that is complementary to the rest of the healthcare team,” Greene said.
“Improving access to pharmacists can directly improve the health and well-being of the patients we serve and overall improve the patient's satisfaction with our health system. This can help Southwestern Health Resources transform healthcare for the patients we serve.”
Greene, a previous president and board member of TSHP, proudly acknowledged that he is just one of many pharmacists affiliated with SWHR to be named a TSHP fellow over the years. The collective work of his colleagues has been invaluable across the entire SWHR network, he said.
“It is critical for members and leaders of organizations like TSHP to continue efforts to advance the profession and advocate for change, something that is in the best interests of healthcare in general and, more importantly, patients,” he said.
“We all benefit when engaged professionals are practicing at the top of their license.”
Improving patient access to pharmacists
TSHP, a professional organization that advocates for pharmacists, laid the groundwork in 2019 for pharmacists to bill as providers through the passage of Texas HB 1757. The organization also joined nine national and 46 state-based pharmacy associations in advising the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to leverage pharmacists' expertise under Medicare.
Greene, who has been active on numerous TSHP committees and has served as a Texas delegate to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, said, “Pharmacy's biggest challenge has been elevating our profession in the area of clinical practice.
“All licensed pharmacists educated over the last several decades have been trained to clinically evaluate a patient’s disease state and apply their knowledge of medications in order to treat those conditions.”
He explained that, over the years, pharmacists have struggled to delineate the value of their positions from a cost-benefit standpoint, since pharmacists are not listed in the Social Security Act as a billable provider, and as such cannot bill for clinical services in the same manner as physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
Improving access to pharmacists is a critical issue, and I will continue to be a voice in that conversation.
He added that while the value of a pharmacist in the healthcare setting is understood and accepted, it is difficult for health systems or provider groups to hire pharmacists on a large scale due to billable provider limitations, especially in outpatient settings.
“I believe the role of pharmacists in a practice or outpatient setting can be justified by minimizing unnecessary expenses and increasing patient satisfaction within the health system,” he said. “In my opinion, improving access to pharmacists is a critical issue, and I will continue to be a voice in that conversation.”
Years of professional and teaching experience
Greene has contributed widely to the pharmacy profession throughout his career. When he joined Care N' Care Insurance Co. five years ago, the company did not have an organized pharmacy department.
Greene built a highly experienced and dedicated department from the ground up. Care N’ Care now covers more than 14,000 Medicare members with Part D drug benefits. The drug plan for Care N’ Care’s PPO plan, its largest contract, was recognized by CMS with a prestigious 4.5 stars out of 5 for 2020. Having an organized pharmacy department makes it possible for Care N’ Care to oversee the delivery of the key Part D benefits.
Prior to his role at Care N' Care, Greene built out pharmacy services for North Texas Specialty Physicians. He also spent seven years on a diabetes subcommittee for the Texas Department of State Health Services, guiding the practice of diabetes management through treatment algorithms and provider toolkits. And he taught for 13 years at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Pharmacy, where he received multiple teaching awards.
New pharmacists should ‘answer the call’
Over the past 20 years, Greene has seen significant growth in the number of pharmacy schools, coupled with the professional skills and knowledge of their graduates. With this surplus of pharmacists, he hopes to see more of them answer the call to serve in outpatient settings, which he views as critically important as medicine moves from being hospital-centric to an outpatient, ambulatory care model.
The rapid growth of biologics and targeted therapies/pharmacogenetics has made pharmacy a particularly dynamic field, further underscoring the need for pharmacist integration within the health system, both inpatient and outpatient.
“Pharmacy is a dynamic profession where anyone interested in medicine, regardless of the subspecialty, can succeed and find the professional fulfillment they seek,” Greene said.
“In this current surplus market, I would advise pharmacists to look at roads less traveled within the profession, like managed care pharmacy, as potential avenues of professional growth and success.”