Saturday, December 1, 2007

Testimonial from Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority

It has been four years now since Advanced Care Pharmacy (ACP) and the Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority entered into a contractual arrangement for pharmacy and pharmacy management services. ACP has been located at the SCCMHA 500 Hancock site since December 2003, serving consumers, family members and guardians, providers, physicians and staff members with their prescription and related consultation needs. Management of pharmacy needs of persons served by SCCMHA remains an important component of network service delivery, and SCCMHA is pleased to have developed and maintained this important partnership with Advanced Care Pharmacy.

Working with ACP has greatly assisted SCCMHA to not only track and manage pharmacy needs of consumers, but also to manage and reduce indigent medication costs and ensure good practices for the safety and well being of individuals we serve. ACP has been instrumental in their role of advocating for the highest standard of pharmacological practices in the SCCMHA network. A lead member of the ACP Saginaw team serves on the SCCMHA Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, and ACP has been a key consultant in the development and refinement of SCCMHA medication policies and procedures, especially for residential home settings. Advanced Care Pharmacy staff have made themselves available to homes, offering both as needed or ongoing training as well as problem solving assistance to best meet consumer and home needs. When Medicare Part D prescription coverage was initiated in January 2006, ACP supported SCCMHA in the education of consumers about this change, in order to make specific coverage choices to best meet individual medication prescription needs.

ACP routinely maintains stock and controls for injectible medications and the inventory of drug samples used by SCCMHA and works with key nursing staff and SCCMHA psychiatrists throughout the network, as well as other physician’s who prescribe for consumers’ general health needs. As sample offers from drug companies have been changing, this management of limited supplies of available samples has been even more critical.

Advanced Care Pharmacy does business throughout the state of Michigan, working closely with a number of PIHPs, most recently a new contract with the Genesee County PIHP system. The Saginaw site includes seven staff members: two full time pharmacists, including one general manager, and 5 pharmacy technicians. Tony LaRouche is the manager at the SCCMHA ACP site in Saginaw.

SCCMHA expects that affiliated providers will work with ACP to meet consumer medication needs; ACP provides trusted and reliable pharmacy services. While SCCMHA cannot be responsible for the cost of general health medications, there have been numerous situations where ACP knowledge of the varied medications of a specific consumer and possible contraindications has been helpful in treatment decisions and the management of clinical risk. Through Advanced Care’s involvement in consumer care and supports, SCCMHA is also assured that pharmacy operation requirements are in compliance, also minimizing consumer health risk and clinical program risk, as well as overall provider organizational and SCCMHA network risk.

ACP, on behalf of SCCMHA, will note consumer financial hardships relative to the payment of medication co-pays; this is subject to SCCMHA review, but SCCMHA recognizes that some persons simply cannot afford their medication co-payments. Pharmacies by law are not allowed to waive co-payments; however SCCMHA does so, through the arrangement with ACP. Advanced Care has worked closely with SCCMHA and Julia Choate, the DHS Eligibility Specialist, to include pharmacy related costs in meeting consumer spend down levels in order to maintain Medicaid eligibility. ACP also works closely with the Crisis Intervention Services (CIS) program to meet urgent consumer needs.

SCCMHA has received many positive comments about Advanced Care Pharmacy from providers and consumers, including some who discontinued ACP patronage and then returned due quality or service concerns with another pharmacy. Some SCCMHA providers have been approached by other local or statewide pharmacies with what appears to be possible inducements to business; SCCMHA cautions all service providers about participation in such situations, and strongly encourages use of ACP through the SCCMHA contract for all of the benefits mentioned in this article. ACP has conducted satisfaction surveys with positive outcomes. SCCMHA recognized ACP staff with an Every Day Hero award in 2006. ACP as an organization recently noted that through their 9 audits in 3 years, including two by PIHPs, they have experienced no level of monetary recovery. This is further proof about the compliance integrity of ACP, to the ultimate benefit of SCCMHA consumers and providers.