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VA Heart of Texas Healthcare Network


Pharmacy Benefits Management - PGY-2 Residency Program

Population Health Management and Data Analytics

Program purpose

The purpose of the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 17 Pharmacy Benefits Management (PBM) PGY2 Population Health Management and Data Analytics Residency Program is to develop clinically proficient healthcare data analysts and pharmacoeconomists who will improve the quality and outcomes of patient care services. This residency program integrates population health and data analytics with the practices of evidence-based medicine and formulary management to support process improvements within the healthcare system.

Program vision

Healthcare data analytics is an evolving field of study within the healthcare industry. As the amount of healthcare data being collected exponentially grows, the science of predicting, tracking, and intervening on patient outcomes requires trained healthcare data analysts and pharmacoeconomists who can lead and adapt to the increasing advances in patient care. Through an innovative approach to training and learning, the VISN 17 Pharmacy Benefits Management PGY2 Population Health and Data Analytics Residency Program is designed to provide residents with expert knowledge, skills, attitudes, and accountability in areas such as SQL coding, pharmacoeconomics, leadership, formulary management, and population health so that they can confidently meet the demands of this growing healthcare field.

Program information

The primary goal of the PGY-2 Population Health Management and Data Analytics Residency Program is to develop and foster the resident’s skills in data analysis, change management, clinical pharmacy, organizational acumen, and leadership with the ultimate goal of developing the next generation of pharmacy leaders: who are able to create pharmacoeconomic proposals, reports, and dashboard tools, manage formularies, and develop and implement criteria for use on certain drugs. The VISN 17 PBM provides a unique practice environment that is dynamic and challenging. By concurrently using data analysis and evidence-based medicine, outcomes measurement, and process improvement we strive to provide our 1M+ Texas Veterans with the best care found anywhere in the country by supporting and encouraging evidence-based prescribing. Gaining proficiency in Structured Query Language (SQL) programming, metric reporting software tools, and pharmacoeconomic principles will enable graduates to optimize quality and outcomes within various health care management systems or policy organizations. Pharmacists completing the Population Health Management and Data Analytics Residency Program will be equipped to serve as experts in outcome and analytics and pharmacoeconomic clinicians. These clinicians will promote best pharmacotherapy care practices, safety initiatives, and cost-effective prescribing for all levels of patient populations from the individual patient to large regional populations.

Residents will gain experience creating multi-facility metrics and dashboards and will develop leadership skills by actively participating in national and regional taskforces and committees comprised of interdisciplinary teams. Residents will present a formal continuing education lecture and complete a quality improvement research project. Residents will have the opportunity to participate in a teaching certificate program offered through University of Texas at Austin, as well as precept students and PGY1 residents.

The VISN 17 Pharmacy Benefits Management offices are located in Temple, Texas, with convenient access to the major metropolitan areas of Texas (Austin, Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, and San Antonio). The Live Music Capital of the World, Austin, lays a mere 60 miles south and is a popular hotspot for locals and visitors alike. For weekend adventure, you can hike the Texas Hill Country, bike the Southern Plains, or enjoy the beaches of the Texas gulf coast

Core rotations will be in the areas of:

Data management

The resident will learn and apply a variety of data skills from database creation/extraction to final product development such as creation and maintenance of electronic dashboards and reports. Knowledge and applied use of query languages will be taught and developed for interacting with relational databases. The resident upon graduation from the program will have an overall understanding of the VA health data repository enterprise architecture data warehouse structure applied to VISN 17. This will include specialized knowledge of cube design and development, database management, use of collaborative development environments, digital dashboard development and maintenance, and formulating, executing, and revising plans and coding procedures for database searches using SQL.

Formulary management

The resident will develop the knowledge, skills, values, and abilities necessary to assist in creating and maintaining Criteria for Use, improving procurement, contract compliance, and inventory control activities to achieve maximum savings and data accuracy. Several standing committees and many practitioners are involved with the work of developing, modifying, and maintaining the VA National Formulary. In addition, the VISNs are responsible for adherence to Criteria for Use developed nationally and locally. The VISN PBM supports many aspects of the programs designed to support this system. The resident will be exposed to the concepts of managed care systems through their involvement in all aspects of VISN formulary management. Overall, the resident will better understand the complete cycle of drug procurement from the formulary addition, to negotiating contracts with the manufacturer, to ordering, and to receiving the pharmaceuticals. In addition, the resident will gain the necessary knowledge and experience in revenue generation to better understand the legislation, regulation and policies concerning the prescription benefits within the Veterans Health Administration. Projects will be developed and assigned by the preceptor at the direction of committees, workgroups, and informal groups, and there will be independent and group learning experiences. The resident will be assigned tasks and will work with a variety of VISN employees in diverse areas to accomplish PBM goals/business for this learning experience.

Pharmacoeconomics and health outcomes

The resident will develop skills, values, and abilities in the practical application of pharmacoeconomic principles to the VA healthcare environment and in research design and methodologies to assess pharmaceutical-related economic, clinical, and humanistic health outcomes. This rotation will expand upon the principles learned in the Data Analytics Rotation. The residents will develop tools such as dashboards and reports to improve patient care and safety. There will be a review on the key principles of data presentation and learning to adjust for the intended audience. Additionally, core concepts of pharmacoeconomics such as Lost Opportunity Cost, cost variables, Cost Effectiveness Analysis (CEA), and Budget Impact Analysis (BIA) will be explored. The resident will also learn about and understand the principles of procurement – the theory behind choosing the most cost-effective product, handling shortages, and practical procurement exercises. The resident will be assigned projects and will work with a variety of VISN employees in diverse areas to accomplish tasks for this learning experience. Outcome projects will be developed and assigned by the preceptor at the direction of committees, task forces, and informal groups, and will be independent and group learning experiences.

Pharmacy practice foundation

This rotation will help residents become familiar with the key principles utilized in health care systems for leadership and overall practice improvement. This experience is designed to expose the resident to leadership nomenclature, key principles, tools, and available resources that will assist them in growing as clinicians, practitioners, and leaders. During the residency, practice foundation skills and values will be taught and observed by preceptors and the experience will be individualized based on the resident’s baseline knowledge and growth throughout the year. The resident will participate in a number of activities designed to improve their working knowledge and experience with leadership concepts. The overarching goal of this experience is to enable the resident to apply the knowledge gained to any pharmacy practice setting to improve their individual practice and confidently utilize leadership skills. During this experience, residents will learn policy development abilities through the concepts of process management, resource provision, and product management. Communication and leadership skills will also be emphasized in order to facilitate effective policy and service development. Residents will be asked to identify needs within VA (whether clinical, departmental, or organizational), perform data collection and an issue analysis, and draft a policy, procedure, or other solution that assists in rectifying these. Residents will work on updating current policies and procedures; assist in taking minutes or creating agendas for various taskforces and committees and assist in working to maintain compliance with various regulatory bodies. Additionally, residents will assist in creating, maintaining, and prioritizing new services that will assist clinicians, administrators, and management in improving their service capabilities. Discussion topics may include mission/vision statements, strategic plans, effective communication, networking, mentoring, clinical leadership, leadership strategies, available resources/opportunities, regulatory bodies, finances, medication safety, organizations, the importance of publishing, and various programs/activities designed to develop the resident’s pharmacy practice/leadership foundation.

Population management

This experience is intended to expose the resident to the components of population health and assess the impact it has on health outcomes. This rotation will engage the resident in providing patient care through development and use of analysis tools to identify/target patients to assist healthcare systems in VISN 17 in meeting performance metrics, measures, or fulfilling another patient care need. The resident will work with available national and VISN dashboards or other analysis tools to improve patient safety, quality, and other outcomes. The resident will provide population health management through utilization of data analysis tools created by the resident to obtain an end-user perspective and will educate other end-users about the tool. The resident will collect and analyze patient information from the analysis tool and work in collaboration with other healthcare providers at the medical center to provide patient care as necessary.

Pharmacy informatics

The resident will develop basic to intermediate skills in order menu creation and management, data file management in the electronic health record (EHR) and pharmacy automation, troubleshooting automation and technology issues, and project management. Through this rotation, the resident will be able to apply background clinical knowledge and skills along with pharmacy informatics principles, standards, and best practices to play a role improving pharmacy practice.

Prior authorization drug review

The resident will gain exposure and contribute to the VHA formulary management process through review and completion of prior authorization drug requests (PADRs) utilizing clinical knowledge, National and VISN treatment guidelines, drug use criteria, and relevant literature and resources. The resident will review PADRs from all VISN 17 sites and will communicate when appropriate with the requesting VA or Community Care provider, nurse, and/or patient to obtain additional information for the review. This is both a blocked and longitudinal learning experience that require the resident to complete PADRs throughout the residency year. The resident will have an opportunity to work with many Clinical Pharmacy Specialists, physicians, administrators, and VISN leadership in achieving the outcomes associated with the goals of this learning experience.

Hospital management

The resident will have an opportunity to learn about the constructs, regulations, and systems necessary to run the Pharmacy Service at Central Texas VA Health Care System and will be afforded a firsthand opportunity to observe and participate in and troubleshoot the day-to-day conduct and challenges of the Pharmacy services. The resident will be exposed to reviewing performance data and information systems, financial budgetary management, recruiting via performance-based interviewing, employee evaluations, pharmacy program oversight, maintaining drug policies and procedures, and P&T Committee participation. Residents will have an opportunity to review and become familiar with CTVHCS Pharmacy Policies and Procedures, attend CTVHCS Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) Committee, assist CTVHCS Pharmacy Management with development, implementation, and oversight of pharmacy programs, review and write internal policies and procedures for CTVHCS Pharmacy Service, participate on the interview committee for vacant CTVHCS Pharmacy Service positions, and complete other relevant assignments as necessary for CTVHCS Pharmacy Management.

Quality improvement research project

This learning experience is designed to develop, execute, and report results of investigations of pharmacy practice-related issues. The resident will be responsible for obtaining experience in all areas of a research or quality improvement project including development of a hypothesis, submission of a project proposal, application to Institutional Review Board (IRB) (for research approval or classification as a QI), data collection, data analysis, drawing conclusions, and presentation of results. The resident will work with the RPD and the research preceptor(s) throughout the project life cycle as well as the Research Pharmacist from the CTVHCS who will assist in coordinating project deadlines and IRB approval. Residents will be encouraged to conduct outcomes-based research or quality improvement projects, preferably incorporating the skills learned from other rotations and building a new analysis tool that will assist in the data mining component of the project. Residents are required to present a project poster at National professional pharmacy meeting and a PowerPoint presentation at the annual ALCALDE Southwest Leadership Conference.

Elective experiences

Each resident will have opportunities for one or two experiences that are considered electives. Elective experiences are specifically intended to tailor the residency experience to the resident’s needs, goals, and interests. It is possible to elect to work in one area for additional time to gain more confidence and skills. Despite the nature of this program, if a resident is interested in an alternative are (ex. direct patient care), this can be reasonably arranged. The RPD will coordinate or arrange elective learning experiences with the resident and the preceptor. It is recommended that this be accomplished as early as possible in the residency year to facilitate planning of all involved.

Electives may be selected from well-established pharmaceutical care areas or developed for unconventional areas. Any of the core areas may be selected as an advanced elective rotation. Other opportunities include, but are not limited to: Mental Health Inpatient, Mental Health Outpatient, Women’s Health, Diabetes Care, Didactic Lecturing, Intensive Care Unit, Advanced Medicine, Advanced Data Management, Infectious Disease/HIV, Advanced Ambulatory Care, or VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic.

Application process, applicant qualifications and resident selection

The VISN 17 PBM utilizes PhORCAS for all application material submission. All application and supplemental materials should be submitted via the PhorCAS system (

Required application materials

Applicant qualifications

  • Applicants must be legal citizens of United States to be eligible for federal employment through this training program
  • Graduate of an ACPE-accredited school of pharmacy
  • Possess a state issued pharmacist license and be in good standing
  • Completed a first year (PGY-1) ASHP-accredited pharmacy practice residency program or equivalent experience

Candidates will be ranked according to the National Match Program. This residency site agrees that no person at this site will solicit, accept, or use any ranking-related information from any residency applicant. Information about registering for the Match can be found at:

Compensation and benefits

Estimated salary is $50,679/year. Benefits include health insurance, 13 days of vacation, 13 days of sick leave, 11 holidays, paid travel to required events, office with up-to-date computer systems, and paid administrative leave for conferences and educational events.

VISN 17 PGY2 Residency Program contact information

ASHP program information

Program Code Number: 74053
Residents National Match ID#: 69148