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Diplomat Spotlight

May 2019 Spotlight

Ryan Haynes, MBA, RPh - Diplomat at University of Wyoming

haynesHow did you become involved in AMCP?   

I became involved in AMCP after I started my career at a PBM upon the urging of my manager as an avenue to learn more about the industry and better understand the opportunities associated with Managed Care Pharmacy. I became involved in the AMCP Diplomat program as a way to give back to my pharmacy school by sharing experiences and providing insight into an important and growing component of the pharmacy industry. 

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy?  

After completing pharmacy school, I had a very solid grasp on the way medications worked clinically in the patient.  How were these medications ultimately being provided to the patient? What were the costs to the member? Who was responsible for the overall costs associated with treatment?  What is being done to manage the costs and access to the medications?  The business side of pharmacy fascinated me and initially caused my interest in managed care pharmacy. Being able to leverage both clinical information and business considerations in my day to day activities is what has kept me in managed care pharmacy.      

What was your first job or position in managed care?   

My first job in managed care was as a Clinical Pharmacist in the Prior Authorization department at PCS HealthSystems.  This was a great way to get my foot in the door and begin to learn more about the business and in an industry that I really did not know much about when finishing pharmacy school.     

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role?   

I joke about it, however it is true that it is difficult to explain exactly what I do. There is never a dull moment which makes my role enjoyable and the days fly by.  I may be assisting a client to better understand certain elements within a PBM request for proposal (RFP), while an hour later can be having contracting discussions with a PBM followed by internal discussions around therapeutic categories and trends. There are days when I will address multiple clinical questions and discussions as well as days where the topics are focused on financials.       

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student chapter or school of pharmacy?   

The University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy does not have an AMCP student chapter.  My interactions with the school of pharmacy generally include participation in the career week for the P4s in addition to volunteering to speak on managed care topics. I join other pharmacy colleagues who have taken career paths which may be outside the norm of traditional pharmacists. 

Words of advice?   

Keep an open mind about opportunities. You don't know what you don't know. Pharmacy students have many opportunities available to them in this ever-changing segment of pharmacy. It is fine to be uncomfortable and embrace the unknown.

January 2019 Spotlight

Tasmina Hydery, PharmD, MBA, BCGP - Diplomat at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

tasminaTasmina Hydery is the AMCP Diplomat for Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She is a Clinical Consultant Pharmacist for Clinical Pharmacy Services at University of Massachusetts Medical School. In addition, she is an Assistant Professor at University of Massachusetts Medical School and Adjunct Professor at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Tasmina serves as a lead in implementing formulary initiatives for specialty pharmaceutical medications for the Massachusetts Medicaid program (MassHealth). Her other roles include development of comprehensive internal guidelines, analysis of drug utilization, and review of complex clinical cases. Tasmina received her Doctor of Pharmacy from Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and Masters in Business Administration from Boston College Carroll School of Management.   

How did you become involved in AMCP?   

I have always had an interest in being involved with national pharmacy organizations. Once I started working in the managed care area, I took it upon myself to learn about what AMCP does as organization and how membership could benefit me as pharmacist. Since that time, I have attended Nexus and Annual meetings, served as a member of the School of Pharmacy Relations Committee, judged the Annual P&T Competition, and volunteered as a conference buddy. I have enjoyed the learning and networking opportunities through AMCP.  

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy?  

Prior to transition into managed care pharmacy, I worked in community pharmacy and academia. I was interested in career in managed care because of the far-reaching impact I could have on individuals of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Every day is a new learning opportunity when it comes to clinical outcomes research, therapies that have entered the market, and legislative changes which may affect our internal decisions.      

What was your first job or position in managed care?   

My first position from five years ago is still my current position. I now wear many other hats as a preceptor for pharmacy students and residents, and educator for medical students and staff. The first year was a learning curve and I developed many of the communication and technical skills I continue to use today.      

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role?   

I generally work Monday through Friday during normal business hours. Throughout the week, I progress through client projects, including new drug reviews, quality assurance analyses, clinical updates, and internal guidelines. On Tuesdays, our clinical team meets to discuss the various projects we are working on and opportunities for improvement. On Thursdays, we meet with our client to provide clinical recommendations for management of new drugs and therapeutic classes. There is a healthy balance of independence and interdependence in my weekly workflow.       

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student chapter or school of pharmacy?   

Clinical Pharmacy Services offers an APPE managed care elective rotation and PGY1 residency program. I have trained and precepted numerous students from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. I have also provided talks on formulary management and the role of a managed care pharmacist during career panels and within coursework.  

Words of advice?   

I won't be the first or last person to recommend this – network! Pharmacy is a small world, and the managed care pharmacy world is even smaller. Ask and be open to new opportunities. Create and maintain positive relationships with others, you never know if your former college roommate will be your future supervisor. Stay organized and create a set of professional goals so you can better understand and articulate what you are looking for.

December 2018 Spotlight

Allison Handler, PharmD, RPh - Diplomat at Rutgers University

Allison Handler, PharmD, RPh

How did you become involved in AMCP?   

My engagement with AMCP first started when I was completing my non-traditional PharmD degree out of Nova Southeastern University.  As part of program requirements, I had a research project to complete and it was accepted as a poster presentation at the AMCP annual meeting in Orlando FL in 2000.  This was my first time attending an AMCP meeting and learning all about what the organization had to offer.

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy?  

Managed care touches every aspect of pharmacy and healthcare.  As a pharmacist, I enjoy the ability to have a broad focus and managed care also provides the ability to reach broader populations than a traditional retail pharmacist role that I had started out in.

What was your first job or position in managed care?   

My first 'official' job in managed care was as a concurrent case pharmacist at Caremark Prescriptions Services in Westin FL.  I initially took the job because the hours were great  and it provided full benefits which allowed me to go to school at night to complete my PharmD.  Little did I realize that this job would actually change the trajectory of my career in pharmacy.  In my role within the Concurrent Case Management department I was responsible for reviewing patient claims for drug interactions, adherence and duplicate therapies for high cost therapies and transplant medications.  These assessments required telephonic interaction with physicians and patients to address gaps in care, etc.  This experience was very eye opening to me and I really enjoyed what I was doing and wanted to learn more.  However, I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that I do feel that indirectly, I was first exposed to managed care as a retail pharmacist where dealing with managed care was a big part of the day to day when filling prescriptions.

What does a typical day or week look like in your current role?   

There is no such thing as a typical day or week in my current role as a Market Access Executive for Celgene!  I am a field based (work from home) colleague covering a territory that includes NJ, NY Metro (the 5 boroughs) and CT.  My primary responsibilities include protecting, maintaining or improving access for our entire product portfolio with regional health plans in this geography and ensuring appropriate pull through and understanding of overall access across all national payers as well.  This includes providing or facilitating business reviews, clinical updates and presentations, daily monitoring of payer policies and alignment with field sales to address questions related to managed care denials and coverage.  I spend a lot of my time in my company car and on the phone on conference calls and webex's.  Occasionally I head to our corporate offices for internal meetings or travel for national meetings and conferences.     

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student chapter or school of pharmacy? Words of advice?

I feel very fortunate to have a wonderful long standing relationship with the Rutgers University Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy. The preceptor from my managed care residency was instrumental in starting the AMCP chapter and elective at Rutgers. As a result of our close relationship, her role as faculty advisor and my desire to give back to my alma mater, I signed up as the diplomat for the University and I have not looked back.   Over the years, I have had the opportunity to meet with the chapter in various ways.  This has included participation in managed care panels, serving as a guest lecturer, providing guidance to the chapter leadership regarding event planning for the year, serving as a judge for the local P&T competition, attending chapter meetings and events and coordinating student dinner and networking events at national AMCP meetings.  I have been very fortunate to both stay involved and be a constant for the chapter.  In my opinion, having an engaged and active faculty advisor(s) is a critical success factor in elevating awareness of managed care and AMCP at a school of pharmacy.  As the diplomat, persistence in supporting the chapter and faculty advisor as well as leveraging all contacts and resources available to me in whatever role I may be in are all important pieces to the puzzle.  For any new diplomats starting out, bring your passion for managed care and desire to improve awareness about AMCP to your role and you will achieve success.  Everyone's experience is going to be different, but you are in control of your own so give it your best. 

September 2018 Spotlight

Shuk Wai Chan, PharmD -  Diplomat at Touro University - New York

Shuk Wai Chan, PharmD

How did you become involved in AMCP? 

I definitely joined in a very unconventional way – I was at a CE dinner and someone was recruiting for a Diplomat for a fairly new pharmacy school in the area, I was very interested in the opportunity to mentor next generation pharmacists who are interested in Managed Care so I volunteered! Of course, one of the requirements to be a Diplomat is to be an AMCP member – so here I am!      

What interested you the most about managed care and ultimately led you to pursue a career in managed care pharmacy? 

Honestly, I knew nothing about managed care before my first job at Fidelis Care (a managed care company). When I first moved to NYC 3 years ago, I was hired on as a temp staff pharmacists with focus on reviewing prior authorizations. I was promoted a year later to be the supervisor of a newly created behavioral health-focus pharmacy team. Through this experience, I witness first-hand the impact the pharmacy team can make on a large scale. Now, I just can't get enough of it! We are constantly working on creating, implementing and maintaining clinical initiatives that will better help our most vulnerable members – those with serious mental illness and substance use disorders.      

What was your first job or position in managed care? 

I moved to NYC 3 years ago and started as a temp employee at Fidelis Care, today I am the manager for the pharmacy behavioral health team     What does a typical day or week look like in your current role? A lot of meetings since I manage about six to seven projects with an interdisciplinary team (IDT) of pharmacists, nurses, social workers, and medical directors – there are a lot of back and forth communications prior, during and after implementation of any projects. My typical day would include a variety of the following: preparing presentation on cost justification of a new project, coding for new reports to obtain key metrics, checking-in with players who are involved with a particular project, keeping up-to-date with any legislative guidance, preparing training material for any new process, training the IDT on new process, etc.      

What type of interactions have you had with your AMCP student chapter or school of pharmacy? 

Since I am fairly new, I have attended their P&T mock competition and was so happy to see students who are really dedicated to the preparation and presentation. I have since been in touch with the chapter president here and there when she has general questions about managed care, we agreed that we will likely start to create more structured programs starting fall with the new incoming chapter president       

Words of advice? 

Create opportunities for yourself and find what drives you and just keep doing that. It helps to find a strong support system that will call you out when you are doing stupid things and celebrate with you on your accomplishments (big or small). Drink a lot of water and make sure you use sunblock – it really helps with your skin. Treat yourself often (yes, I mean with materialistic things) – you deserve it!


July 2018 Spotlight

Michael Pazirandeh, PharmD -  West Diplomat Regional Director

Michael Pazirandeh, PharmD

Where do you currently work and what is your position title?

I am an Associate Director for the US Health Economics Outcomes Research team for Bristol-Myers Squibb. 

How did you become involved with AMCP? How has it supported your career in managed care pharmacy?

I first became involved with AMCP as a first year at the University of Southern California (USC) where I eventually became chapter President. AMCP has been instrumental in the development of my managed care career not only through education but also through networking. In fact, I first met my last two hiring managers through AMCP events when I was a student. 

What sparked your interest in applying for the West Diplomat Regional Director?

As the current co-Diplomat for the USC, it had been my goal to constantly serve and make sure all student events are successful. Selected as the West Diplomat Regional Director, I want to serve as a mentor to other Diplomats and help incorporate best practices for other AMCP student chapters. 

Provide an example of a successful activity with your AMCP Student Chapter.

The USC student Chapter has an event called Building Bridges. This is the largest networking event on campus that brings pharmacists from managed care and industry together in one room. For this year's event, I was able to help the students find funding and help invite pharmacy professionals. 

How do you envision working with Diplomats and Schools/Colleges of Pharmacy in your region to raise awareness of AMCP and managed care pharmacy?

Selected as the West Diplomat Regional Director, I plan to incorporate the following: 

1. Create a forum for Diplomats to communicate  
2. Have an annual or bi-annual check in with the Diplomats to check on the status of their student chapter