To help meet financial goals for the upcoming fiscal year, University Hospital administrators voted to implement draconian restriction criteria for the use of albumin at a Pharmacy & Therapeutics committee meeting last week. Commonly used in the resuscitation of critically ill patients, albumin use had increased dramatically over the last several years throughout the organization, particularly in the Department of Grounds and Facilities Management, reports Bill Stevens, Director of Pharmacy.
“It’s an expensive medication and in this era of increased scrutiny with healthcare costs, it’s something we had to look at.” Although anecdotal reports from grounds crews suggest that using albumin compared to other fluids to water the grass outside the hospital helps maintain the color better through the summer heat, numerous studies have not been able to demonstrate any definitive benefits.
Joey Fitzpatrick, one of the team members responsible for lawn maintenance was visibly frustrated with the new restrictions. “I’ve used both. The water just runs down the sidewalk into the street. Albumin hangs around a lot longer and the grass stays greener. It just works.”
When asked for comment, Dr. Denise Forbes, MD, the lone representative from the Department of Anesthesia on the P&T committee, responded: “It’s rationing. That’s what this boils down to. We need to trust the clinical judgment of the person using it.”
At press time, the P&T committee was considering removing the recently implemented restriction and instead adding a “Best Practice Alert” at the time of ordering after receiving overwhelming pushback.