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The apothecary

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Articles - February 2014
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
 MTMCare co-owner Randee Bowder
// Photo by Jason Kaplan

Randee Bowder was working at Walgreens as a pharmacist, feeling a bit dehumanized. “I so did not enjoy working for retail,” she says. Lack of autonomy was one problem. Retail pharmacists are also pressed for time, Bowder says, making it difficult to develop meaningful relationships with patients. So this past January, Bowder, 38, struck out on her own, launching MTMCare, a company that dispenses advice about medications to eligible Medicare clients. MTMCare’s four full-time and nine contract pharmacists are given a blueprint for what needs to be done, Bowder says. “But how they communicate with patients, how they organize their day, is all up to them.” Although most of the company’s 11,157 clients are served by phone, starting in 2014, MTMCare will pilot a face-to-face project at the Columbia Gorge Family Medicine clinic; the company is also working on a similar initiative in Bend. To help grow business, MTMCare subcontracts with large medication-management companies. An aging population is driving expansion, as is health care reform, which places a premium on prevention. Dispensing medication is often a Band-Aid on a much larger problem, Bowder says. But medication management, which focuses more on lifestyle, is rooted in prevention and its associated benefits. Says Bowder: “Providing these services saves lives, and it saves money for patients, insurance companies and health care services.”

Company: MTMCare

Service: Medication management

Co-owners: Randee Bowder & Nicole Schrankel

Headquarters: Hood River

Launched in 2013

Executive Perks
“For a long time, I felt like I was hired for my license,” Bowder says. “Now I can express who I am as an individual. I love change; I’m constantly moving forward and don’t like to be in the same place. So this job as entrepreneur feeds me in a number of ways.” 

Senior Surge
There are approximately 7.5 million Medicare patients eligible for medication therapy management services, paid for by their insurance plan. But in 2010, only 8% of patients actually received services. Medicare is shooting for 25%, and MTMCare aims to help fill that gap. “It’s a huge market,” Bowder says.



0 #1 PharmacistGuest 2014-01-30 03:08:27
Way to go, Randee! I wish you much success. Until last Dec, I counseled Walgreens patients from a call center, but was held to an average call length of two minutes! (200+ calls per shift). I'm currently looking for a new job. I'm licensed in New Hampshire and Florida, with both licenses in good standing. Please let me know if your company has a need that I might fulfill! I long for the day when I can be a pharmacist apart from a prescription sale!

Chris Valeri, PharmD.
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0 #2 Pharmacist in ORGuest 2014-02-21 05:13:21
This kind of practice is SO overdue for the profession. Hepler and Strand coined 'pharmaceutical care' in the 90s, but no one would grab onto it. Now the govt embraces it 20 some odd years later and labels it MTM, and it finally blossoms....ima gine the OPPORTUNITY COST in the gazillions! I echo...WAY TO GO RANDEE & NICOLE!

D Moll, PharmD, RPh
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0 #3 O.Perera, PharmD, MBA, CMTMGuest 2014-12-09 16:14:07
MTM is what pharmacist always did. We always did this "for free". That was the reason why a "free service" was considered a service provided by a "non-profession al" college educated professional. Everyone charges for its services, even the "pool guy" when he cleans my pool. The fact that he also sells pool equipment in his pool shop, makes him also a merchant. So he also has a pool shop and a pool service, and charges for both. Pharmacies always conducted "professional services similar to MTMs, but never charged for it, unlike the "pool guy" that always charged (100 dollars) just to show to see and evaluate my pool water chemistry. While the pool guy always charged for everything he did, people started calling him a professional, even considering he had no school. At the time , the pharmacist, that has a PharmD degree, never charged for his services (MTM type services) while starting calling his pharmacy the Pharmacy SHOP, similar to the "Pool Shop" of our pool guy. Now, who is the most professional? I would say it is the pool guy! He always shows at front his pool guy professionalism and always charged for his services so he can always inspire trust, self respect and demonstrated the need and value of his services. If you value your services, you charge for it, and people will start giving value to it. If you give it for free, you just devalue it, de-professional izing and demoralizing your profession. I will vote for the pool guy! Regarding MTMs, it is privilege club, not open opportunities, where you can only "enter the club" if others (third parties) allow you to enter it (the MTM club). Of course, I keep voting here for the pool guy!
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