Oregon proposes to pay pharmacies to manage COVID vaccine
The Oregon Department of Health proposes to pay $35 per dose of COVID-19 vaccine to pharmacies to increase vaccination rates.
According to a database of health authorities, 79% of people 18 years of age or older in Oregon received at least the first dose of the vaccine.
In addition, the “Politician Magazine” reported that the plan was launched this month, directly solving the problem of staff shortages in pharmacies, and the increasing workload of pharmacies has led to long queues across the state. In some cases, customers reported that they had to wait two or three hours before they could get a prescription.
Rudy Owens, a public affairs expert at the Oregon Department of Health, said the state is proposing to pay temporary pharmacists to increase the workforce.
However, the temporary staffing plan only applies to independent pharmacies. Pharmacies owned by companies are not eligible, but they can still receive vaccine payments from the state.
In order to be eligible for payment, pharmacies must meet certain criteria of “vaccine fairness”, including providing multilingual signs for COVID-19 vaccination, “expanding vaccine-related consultations aimed at enhancing vaccine confidence”, and “continuous evaluation and continuous improvement”. The plan “to ensure fair access,” according to a leaflet from the health authority.
Owens said the state has no data on how many pharmacies have applied for supplementary payments.
Officials said that the closure of more than 35 Bi-Mart pharmacies earlier this month and the limited reimbursement that pharmacies received from so-called pharmacy welfare managers have exacerbated the shortage of pharmacy staff.
Brian Mayo, executive director of the Oregon Pharmacy Association, told The Politician Magazine that if these reimbursements are “fair,” pharmacies will be able to hire more employees and queue times will be shorter.
Mayo said that due to the staffing crisis in community pharmacies across Oregon, they were unable to meet the demand, so their prescription time was 5 to 14 days later than the prescription.
“Pharmacists, technicians and interns are working as fast as possible,” Mayo said. “In many cases, they are forced to continue working without prescribed rest and voluntarily extend unrecorded working hours in order to provide care for their clients. They want to help patients. That’s why they chose this profession, but it feels like Things are getting out of control.”