CHSU Faculty Members, Dr. Stanley Snowden and Dr. Michael Freudiger, Receive Advanced Practice Pharmacist Certification.

 

California Health Sciences University is proud to announce Stanley Snowden, PharmD, MSCR, APh; our Assistant Professor of Clinical Sciences and Michael Freudiger, PharmD, BCPS, BCGP, APh; Clinical Pharmacist, IV Pharmacist Specialist & Consultant and a member of our Adjunct Faculty have both recently been recognized as an Advanced Practice Pharmacist (APh). They are the first Pharmacists in Fresno County to receive this certification. The APP was created under the 2013 Senate Bill 493 in order to “help combat the healthcare provider shortage,” Dr. Snowden explains.

According to the Advanced Practice Pharmacist guidelines, the APhs have the authority to “perform patient assessments, order and interpret all drug therapy-related tests, refer patients to other healthcare providers, and participate in the evaluation and management of diseases and health conditions in collaboration with other healthcare providers” (source: appharmacist.com).

We sat down for an interview with both Dr. Snowden and Dr. Freudiger to find out more about this certification and how it will benefit our students and community. Here’s what they had to say:

What does it mean to be an “Advanced Practice Pharmacist”?

Dr. Snowden: It allows Pharmacists to practice at the top of their license. This will ultimately improve patient care.

Dr. Freudiger: I believe Amy Guiterrez, President of the California State Board of Pharmacy said it best, “Advanced Practice Pharmacists are drug therapy experts who will provide expanded access to care. Their training and skills will allow for a focus on optimizing medication therapy for the citizens of our state. Access to Advanced Practice Pharmacists will lead to improvement of health outcomes, particularly in the area of chronic disease medication.”

Why was the new APh credential created in CA?

Dr. Snowden: The Advanced Practice Pharmacist designation was created in the 2013 SB493 bill to help combat the healthcare provider shortage.

Dr. Freudiger: There are many individuals within the pharmacy profession that see a great disparity in health care needs in CA and recognize Pharmacists as being able to provide this very much needed care in a way that benefits patients and reduces healthcare costs.

Are there other states that offer something similar to the APh?

Dr. Snowden: Yes, New Mexico, North Carolina, Montana, and North Dakota have similar designations. Creating an Advanced Practice Pharmacist designation is gaining traction nationwide. I anticipate more states will follow suite with advancing pharmacy practice in a similar fashion.

Dr. Freudiger: Many states have enacted provider status for Pharmacists however as far as I am aware, California is the first state to offer a completely separate license as an Advanced Practice Pharmacist.

What did it take to earn the “APh” credential?

Dr. Freudiger: The APh license application requires 2 of the following 3 requirements to be satisfied independently of each other:

  1. Possess of a current certification in relevant area of practice.
  2. Completed a postgraduate residency earned in the United States through an accredited postgraduate institution.
  3. Provided 1,500 hours of clinical experience under a collaborative practice agreement or protocol to patients within 10 years of application, where clinical experience includes initiating, adjusting, modifying, or discontinuing drug therapy of patients.

Why are there only two board designated APh Pharmacists in the Fresno area?

Dr. Snowden: The first APh was issued by the board of pharmacy on 2/9/17. It can take some time for people to gather the necessary paperwork to ensure a successful application.

Dr. Freudiger: It is a new licensure option for Pharmacists so it could be a combination of area Pharmacists not yet applying for the license or not having the credentials to meet the requirements.

What do you plan to do now that you have earned the APh credential?

Dr. Snowden: I am going to continue working in my current clinic and expand patient services.

Dr. Freudiger: With my past experience in clinics under a collaborative practice agreement, I saw this as the next step to grow clinical skills. In the future, I hope to contribute to the implementation and expansion of clinics with both direct participation and as a consultant.

How can having an APh improve the Fresno/Clovis Community?

Dr. Snowden: The APh will enhance the access and quality of healthcare patients receive. Since the opportunity to obtain this designation is open to all Pharmacists, it can increase the frequency in which patients interact with Advanced Practice Pharmacists regardless of the healthcare setting.

Dr. Freudiger: Pharmacists are in a unique position to provide care to patients in all of the manageable disease states, allowing physicians to focus on more critical patients.

How can having an APh directly benefit CHSU and our students?

Dr. Snowden: It allows for enhanced educational experiences for the students. This can be done through student rotations during their 4th year. Additional higher level training, cases, and patient experiences can be provided to pharmacy students during their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd years.

Dr. Freudiger: As CHSU students interact with patients in these new APh managed clinics they will gain experience learning from a preceptor practicing with their expanded role and privileges that go with the APh license.

Is there any advice you would like to give to someone who is attempting to earn their APh?

Dr. Snowden: Envision what you would like to do with the APh designation. Setting the groundwork initially by establishing a collaborative practice agreement will go a long way to providing optimal care to your patients.

Dr. Freudiger: The APh license is definitely a goal to strive for because it is the beginning of the transformation of Pharmacists into health care providers and advances the profession. I predict new job openings in the coming years for Advanced Practice Pharmacists, and Pharmacists should be ready to fill these roles.

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