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Senate Approves Funding for Medicaid Extension

The U.S. Senate voted today to approve federal funding extensions for Medicaid programs throughout the country, reported the pharmacy-focused news sources Chain Drug Review and Drug Store News.

According to coverage by Drug Store News reporter Alaric DeArment, the 61-39 vote supporting the supplemental Medicaid funding was due, in large part, to a strong push by the U.S. retail pharmacy lobby and “an extension of the higher federal medical assistance percentage [FMAP] that was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.”

The report also states that the bill, which could impact industry professionals like Sacramento pharmacy technicians, is set for a vote next week in the U.S. House of Representatives. Identical forms of the proposed legislation must be passed by the Senate and House before President Obama can sign the bill into law.

One of the bill’s biggest supporters, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), says members of the House are expected to postpone their annual August trips to their home districts for next week’s vote.

The NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson shared his support of the Senate vote in a press release issued today on the organization’s website:

“This enhanced federal funding of state Medicaid programs is important for the prevention of additional cuts to pharmacy services and pharmacy access at the state level. Pharmacy access is vital to helping patients take their medications correctly, which is essential for maintaining patient health and preventing dramatic increases in long-term healthcare costs, particularly in the treatment of chronic disease,” Anderson stated.

The extension of the FMAP, or Federal Medical Assistance Percentage, would allow state Medicaid programs will continue to receive matching funds from the government. For Medicaid recipients, including many low-income families and seniors on fixed-incomes, the FMAP continuation would help them obtain crucial prescription medications at reduced costs.

Many Americans receiving state Medicaid benefits, including those in Northern California, rely on the assistance of skilled and understanding professionals like pharmacy technicians to assist with their medication needs. If you’ve been looking for rewarding career in a growing field, then consider a job as a Bay Area Pharmacy Technician.

Unitek College has a skilled PT training program to get you started on an exciting profession as a PT in Santa Clara or as a San Francisco Pharmacy Technician. Learn more about Unitek College’s quality PT training program now!

For additional information on the Medicaid extension bill, please visit:

http://drugstorenews.com/story.aspx?id=148099&menuid=335
http://www.chaindrugreview.com/front-page/newsbreaks/senate-oks-extension-of-enhanced-medicaid-funding

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Major Organizations for Pharmacy Professionals Endorse Medication Therapy Management Expanded Benefits Act of 2010

This past June, two leading organizations for pharmacy professionals, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), announced their support of the Medication Therapy Management Expanded Benefits Act of 2010.

Introduced in the U.S. Senate on June 29, the bill seeks to increase patient access to the medication therapy management (MTM) services provided by pharmacists. Medication therapy management is used to describe a number of medication-related education and counseling services provided by pharmacists and pharmacy professionals, such as a Sacramento pharmacy technician.

Since being codified into in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, MTM has been recognized as an effective way for pharmacy professionals to monitor the medication regimens of Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries, and to advise these patients on critical information like prescription side effects and drug interactions. In particular, MTM is seen as important for those with multiple prescriptions for chronic diseases like diabetes and asthma, and the chronic conditions associated with aging.

The Medication Therapy Management Expanded Benefits Act of 2010, authored by Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) and cosponsored by Senator Al Franken (D-MN), would increase the number of people eligible to receive potentially money and life-saving MTM services.

NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, expressed the organization’s support of the proposed legislation in June 29 statement:

“By encouraging MTM services in neighborhood pharmacies, the bill would improve public health and reduce healthcare costs by helping patients to take their medications in the right ways and avoid complications with their drug therapies. Patients suffering from chronic disease, be it diabetes, hypertension, asthma or other conditions, will benefit from these pharmacy services, which also strengthen the pharmacist-patient relationship.”

Recent evidence points to the growing need for more medication management therapy services provided by pharmacists and professionals like San Francisco pharmacy technicians. It is estimated that only 50 percent of Americans take their medications as prescribed. According to a July 2009 report by the New England Health Institute, as much as $290 billion a year is spent on hospitalizations, doctor visits and other healthcare related to patients taking their prescription medication incorrectly.

The passage of Medication Therapy Management Expanded Benefits Act of 2010 could potentially save valuable lives and significant dollars. In the meantime, the demand for qualified professionals who can assist patients and pharmacists will continue to increase. Now may be the best time for you to start your career as a pharmacy technician in San Jose or a PT in Santa Clara. See how Unitek College can get you started on the important and growing Pharmacy Technician field!

For additional information on the Medication Therapy Management Expanded Benefits Act of 2010, please visit:

http://www.nacds.org/wmspage.cfm?parm1=6857

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PTCB Certification Becoming More Important For Pharmacy Technicians

2008 has proven to be a very productive year for PTCB and pharmacy technicians nationwide. Earlier this year, PTCB reached the milestone of 300,000 pharmacy technicians certified by PTCB. Also this year, significant strides have been made on the legislative front to promote the important role of pharmacy technicians in ensuring patient safety. According to the 2008 NABP Survey of Pharmacy Law, 37 states regulate pharmacy technicians, with 28 states incorporating PTCB into their regulations in one of the following ways:

  1. As a requirement for pharmacy technician state registration or licensure.
  2. As one of the ways to meet state requirements for pharmacy technician registration or licensure.
  3. As a mechanism for expanded pharmacist to pharmacy technician ratios.

Since the beginning of 2008, three additional states-Kentucky, Nebraska, and most recently Florida have joined the growing number of states with regulations. This is good news for graduates of  Unitek College’s Pharmacy Technician training program, as we have a strong emphasis on PTCB.

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Is There A Healthcare Crisis or A Shortage of Nurses?

We have all heard horror stories of how we are all headed towards an economic disaster with the falling stock market, the mortgage crisis, and the never ending saga about the empty coffers of our state government. Is Health care next? Should one expect wages to drop? And demand to suddenly drop?

Irrespective of who wins the elections, and how dramatically the national economy may fall, health care services is one area which can’t keep up with the escalating demand. North of 60% of the population is demanding premium health care services and expect the service providers to drop the nurse to patient ratio to be a lot lower than current metrics. This is even more apparent in states such as Florida and California with resident population demographics leaning towards the aged.

Due to the shortage of qualified local nurses, an increasing number of recruiting firms are targeting Canadian and other international markets to lure experienced nurses to better paying employment opportunities with U.S. employers. The only way we can meet the burgeoning demand, is to increase seats in our Pharmacy, Vocational Nursing and LVN and RN programs and send more nursing graduates into the work force. More supply won’t alone solve the problem, but it’s one of the ways to alleviate the impact of the health care crisis. Complement the increased supply with a partnership- between the federal government and the industry-which join hands and make the proposition of entering the nursing profession a sweeter deal – and a national crisis, can indeed be averted.

Is the current economic disaster affecting you in any way?

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Free Housing Assistance? That’s Crazy!!!!

Since 1987, the City of Fremont has operated a very successful scholarship housing program. It allows rent scholarships for students that are completing job related coursework. I think this is a great option for upcoming students in Licensed Vocational Nurse to Registered Nurse (LVN to RN), Medical Assisting (MA), and Pharmacy Technician (PT) Training.

If a student meets ALL of the following conditions, they are eligible for the scholarship program:

  • Are you at least 18 years of age?
  • Are you supporting a family?
  • Do you have a good credit history?
  • Are you a full time student with a GPA of 2.8 or above?
  • Have you been enrolled for a minimum of one quarter or 12 weeks in an eligible training program and have 18 months or less remaining for your certification?
  • Are you committed to a better quality of life?

For more information, please contact Janis Carey at 510-494-4511 or housingandredevelopment@ci.fremont.ca.us