Alumni Spotlight | Amy Jay PharmD '15 Practices Expanded Care

Pharmacists in Washington state are expanding their scope of practice, providing prescriptions and direct care for patients through collaborative practice agreements.

Amy Jay PharmD ’15 appeared on the cover of the August 2016 issue of Pharmacy Today, where she talked about collaborative practice agreements, or CPAs, in Washington state Fred Meyer stores.

Now a clinical pharmacist with the Kroger-owned chain, Jay was previously a research scientist with a Department of Defense-affiliated lab making medical devices. She came to the Pacific University School of Pharmacy to pursue a second career — one that would keep her connected to healthcare and people.

“I got to see firsthand how the work I did had an impact on somebody else’s life, significantly. It was important to me that I stayed in a healthcare field,” she said. “And I had a background in chemistry. I wanted to stick with something that would utilize all those skills wrapped into one.”

After graduating from Pacific’s three-year doctoral program in pharmacy, Jay pursued an optional residency for additional training — one that placed her at Fred Meyer in the midst of the company’s efforts to build collaborative practice agreements.

“During my residency year, we implemented 19 different CPAs,” she said. “They range anywhere from being able to prescribe medications for a UTI or yeast infection, to migraine headaches, Epi-pens or birth control.”

CPAs are essentially agreements developed between a physician and pharmacist that allow the pharmacist to see patients and prescribe certain medications in specific settings.

“It’s a very specific protocol that the physician has signed off on that outlines the types of patients we see and treat, and the types we refer back to their primary care physician or emergency department,” Jay said.

According to the Pharmacy Today article, 48 states currently allow collaborative practice agreements, though the laws vary widely. In some states, Jay said, the CPA is only applies to the participating physician’s own patients.

Washington, however, has a progressive stance.

“We can see any patient, not necessarily those related to that specific doctor,” Jay said.

That means that a patient with a urinary tract infection could go to the box store pharmacy for a prescription rather than waiting — and paying — for an appointment with their primary care physician, emergency department or urgent care.

Perhaps more critically, patients who may be out of refills on insulin or an albuterol inhaler can stay out of the emergency room by getting new prescriptions at the store.

“If they’re not able to get ahold of the doctor, or its after-hours, weekends, and they can’t wait … they don’t have to go without medication,” Jay said. Fred Meyer has trained the pharmacists working in locations that provide clinical services under CPAs so that there is someone to see a patient at any time.

Jay would like to see CPAs expand to improve patient care and collaboration among the healthcare team. She is licensed in both Washington and Oregon and practices at Fred Meyer locations in Vancouver and across the river in Portland — but currently the CPAs only apply to certain Washington stores in Vancouver and Olympia.

“This all basically started last October; it’s fairly new,” she said. “It’s pretty novel compared to what a lot of other states across the country allow pharmacists to do. Hopefully other states may follow suit.”

Oct. 3, 2016