March 11, 2013
By Barbara Lago
On behalf of health care teams in Yazoo City and Canton, University of Mississippi pharmacy faculty members traveled to Arlington, Va., to accept two awards presented by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration’s Patient Safety and Clinical Pharmacy Services Collaborative, or PSPC.
The two Integrated Medication Management Services awards are for improving the health and safety of diabetic patients by integrating medication therapy management, or MTM, services into care provided at the G.A. Carmichael Family Health Center in both Yazoo City and Canton.
“Integrating pharmacists into our health care teams has been beneficial for our physicians and, more importantly, our patients,” said Janice Bacon, the centers’ executive director.
“We are seeing improvements in clinical outcomes from pharmacy interventions,” Bacon said. “Our clinics would not be able to provide this level of service without its partnership with the School of Pharmacy. Our communities are grateful that the school generously provides access to the specialized care required to address the complex needs of our diabetes patients.”
PSPC is a national breakthrough effort to improve the quality of U.S. health care by integrating MTM services into the care of high-risk, high-cost patients. The collaborative is committed to saving and enhancing thousands of lives each year by achieving optimal health outcomes and eliminating adverse drug events (e.g., diabetic comas, emergency room visits, etc.) through increased clinical pharmacy services for the patients it serves.
Each year, the Health Resources and Services Administration, or HRSA, recognizes participating teams that have achieved dramatic improvements in safety and health. Sponsored by the PSPC Alliance, the awards are presented at the January PSPC Learning Sessions, which provide a forum for sharing best practices among teams, which then implement those practices in their local communities throughout the country. The goal is to reach 3,000 communities by 2015.
“The work of our School of Pharmacy practice faculty and residents is making a tremendous difference in the health and lives of many of our state’s residents,” said David D. Allen, the school’s dean. “Their partnerships with community pharmacists, physicians, community health centers and others are becoming a model for increasing access to health care and improving people’s lives.”
The school has embedded a clinical pharmacist at the Carmichael clinic in Yazoo City since fall 2010 and at the clinic in Canton since spring 2012 to provide MTM services to their many diabetic patients.
In Yazoo City, where 31 percent of residents live below the poverty line and more than 12 percent have diabetes, UM clinical pharmacist Meagan Brown assesses and manages patients’ medication regimens and educates them about diet, exercise and taking their medications as prescribed. She also helps monitor their blood pressure and blood sugar and cholesterol levels. When she uncovers medication-related problems, she works with patients’ primary care providers to resolve them.
Since last spring, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice Laurie Warrington has been supplying similar services to the G.A. Carmichael Family Health Center in Canton.
“Meagan and Laurie have been a godsend,” said Dr. James A. Jefferson, clinical services director of the Carmichael centers. “I have seen them do so much good. They have achieved impressive results with some very difficult cases. We are extremely grateful for their expertise, and we’re honored to work with them. They are great representatives of the university and of their profession.”
Lauren Bloodworth, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice and administrator of the school’s Community-Based Research Program, said, “We have extraordinary teams working in both Yazoo City and Canton. These latest PSPC awards are a reflection of their hard work over the past few years.”
Diabetes and its complications are more prevalent and cause more deaths in Delta communities such as Yazoo City and others than anywhere else in the nation. To address the problem, pharmacy practice faculty and residents from Ole Miss are providing MTM and other services in 14 of those communities, giving patients in 11 of the region’s impoverished counties access to additional health care services.
To date, they have conducted more than 5,200 MTM encounters in those communities, identified and helped correct more than 10,900 drug therapy problems, improved the conditions of untold patients and avoided numerous emergency room visits.
Plus, their patients indicate they are becoming more knowledgeable about their medications and the disease with which they are afflicted. Bettina Hall of Yazoo City, who had been struggling to control her diabetes for some 20 years, said last summer that, with her pharmacist’s help, she was able to reduce her hemoglobin A1c (blood sugar) from 12.9 percent to 8.9 percent. She also learned to administer her insulin shots at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. every day, without exception, “to smooth out” her blood sugar levels.
“Our Department of Pharmacy Practice faculty, residents and local health care practitioners are delivering patient-centered care to underserved populations in the Mississippi Delta,” said Leigh Ann Ross, the department’s chair and the school’s associate dean for clinical affairs. “They are doing an incredible job, and it’s gratifying to again see their efforts recognized nationally.”
Their numerous community-based initiatives have impressed many. At last year’s PSPC Learning Sessions, the Delta Pharmacy Partnership (UM’s pharmacy school and the G.A. Carmichael Family Health Center in Yazoo City) received two Change Package awards. One was for leadership commitment, the other for patient-centered care. The partnership, along with Webb’s Pharmacy in Yazoo City, also won the Outstanding Performance Award, which goes to teams documenting increased clinical pharmacy services, improved health outcomes and reduced adverse drug events or potential adverse events.
At a similar meeting in fall 2011, the Delta Pharmacy Partnership won the Clinical Pharmacy Services Improvement Award and Health Outcome Management Award. The year before, the partnership and the DHA 21st Century Good Samaritan Health Center in Greenville received three awards: two Health Outcome Management and Clinical Pharmacy Services Improvement awards and an Outstanding Performance award.
At last year’s American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy meeting, all of the school’s initiatives in the impoverished region won a “granddaddy” of service awards: the 2011-12 Lawrence C. Weaver Transformative Community Service Award. AACP presents the annual award to one pharmacy school that not only demonstrates a major commitment to addressing unmet community needs through pharmacy education, practice and research but also serves as an example of social responsiveness to others.
The school’s Community-Based Research Program includes the:
- Pharmacy Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Project supported by the Mississippi State Department of Health’s Delta Health Collaborative with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement Project funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and Delta Health Alliance
- CDC Million Hearts Initiative supported by grants from the National Association of Chain Drug Store Foundation and Community Pharmacy Network
- Southern U.S. Diabetes Coalition funded through a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation grant
- Rapid HIV Screening in Community Pharmacies supported by a grant from the CDC
- Community Pharmacy Residency Program funded, in part, by a Community Pharmacy Residency Expansion Program grant from the NACDS Foundation