Learn more about this years' finalists for NGP Awards, who hail from 21 states and Guam and represent the best and the brightest in the field of pharmacy.
Peter Crouch, BSPharm
Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner, Eden Drug
Eden, North Carolina
Peter Crouch’s commitment to his community extends from the personal health of his patients to the health of the local economy.
Although he has been a pharmacist for 35 years, Crouch has not slowed down— Eden Drug handles 500 to 600 prescriptions per day, and reached the 1,000,000 mark in the summer of 2010. The pharmacy offers a variety of specialized services, including drug testing for local businesses, vaccine clinics for groups doing mission work abroad, and education programs.
Crouch fosters personal relationships with patients and encourages his staff to do the same. He rewards employees on a monthly basis for engaging in community work and encourages them to write 10 handwritten notes to patients monthly. The staff also coordinated a backpack drive, ultimately delivering 1700 bags stuffed with supplies to local schoolchildren.
Crouch is currently spearheading an innovative “spread the wealth” initiative designed to support the local economy. Inspired by the idea that 70% of money spent locally directly benefits the community, Crouch distributed $2000 in specially stamped $2 bills to his 35 employees. The employees must spend the money locally without paying bills and give at least 10% to charity. The stamps allow Crouch to track the bills as they make their way through the community.
A pharmacist consultant for Hospice of Rockingham County since 1995, Crouch is a member of the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists.
Owner, Medicap Pharmacy
John Forbes was named Urbandale Citizen of the Year for 2009, and a look at his extensive civic involvement demonstrates why he was an excellent choice.
A member of the Urbandale City Council, Chamber of Commerce, and Public Library board, as well as the Urbandale High School Booster Club, Forbes cares deeply about the foundation of his community and remains constantly involved in its future.
Forbes also coordinated the Central Iowa Honor Flight Committee, a group that raises money to send World War II veterans to visit the memorial in Washington, DC. Forbes has helped raise more than $1.5 million so far to sponsor 3 of the flights, which allow the veterins to travel all expenses paid on a chartered 747. He also serves as the medical director on the trips, overseeing a staff of 3 physicians.
When he is behind the counter at Medicap Pharmacy in Urbandale, Forbes abides by a philosophy of preventive medicine. In the late 1990s, he established one of the first screening and preventive health programs in Urbandale, offering blood pressure and bone density screenings, retina checks, and other services. Certified in immunization as well as pharmaceutical care, Forbes and his pharmacy staff also immunize between 8000 and 10,000 patients per year.
Past president of the Polk County Pharmacists Association and the Iowa Pharmacy Association Board of Directors, Forbes was honored with the Bowl of Hygeia in 2010 for his outstanding service to the community.
Director of Pharmacy, Wende Correctional Facility
Alden, New York
In his position as the Director of Pharmacy at the maximum security Wende Correctional Facility, John Gotowko strives to treat each patient he meets with dignity and respect.
This commitment to quality health care for all benefits hundreds of patients, including the 950 inmates at the facility, those in an 80-bed acute care regional medical unit and a 28-bed dialysis unit, 244 inmates in the primary mental health unit, and 50 inmates in an off-campus minimum security facility.
Gotowko has served on the Niagara County Board of Health since 2001, and has served 3 years each in the roles of president and vice president. He works to inform the other health care professionals on the Board about the role of pharmacists and their importance in public health. Gotowko has been instrumental in helping the Board make informed decisions when developing policies regarding pharmaceuticals.
Gotowko also works to improve his community by volunteering his time to help with prescription drug take-back programs, emergency preparedness drills, mass prophylaxis dispensing operations, and immunization awareness events. He used his own resources to become certified for vaccination so that he could volunteer at health department points of dispensing for the H1N1 vaccine.
A member of the New York State Education Department Office of Professions Board of Pharmacy for 10 years, Gotowko has also served on the New York State Department of Health Drug Utilization Review Committee for Medicaid for 7 years.
President/Owner, ApproRx and Waynesville Pharmacy
Ken Fields’ entrepreneurial ventures maximize the expertise of pharmacists to the benefit of the surrounding community.
Dr. Fields’ 2 pharmacies both offer lab services, including international normalized ratio (INR) testing, A1C testing, and hypertension monitoring. This has proved extremely convenient for patients, but it’s life saving as well—many times Dr. Fields’ lab has discovered dangerous INRs and uncontrolled diabetes or hypertension that saved possible trips to the emergency department (ED).
In addition to monitoring chronic conditions, Dr. Fields and his pharmacist wife run the Fields Mini-Medical Clinic, which was launched to meet the needs of local patients who are underinsured or uninsured. The service is also open to those who want immediate care without visiting an ED. Along with an onsite physician, the Fields help meet the basic medical needs of their community.
This young entrepreneur also helps patients who are opioid dependent. With support from Reckitt Benckiser, Dr. Fields opened a Suboxone clinic, which provides a team-based approach to addiction treatment. Currently serving 99 patients, the clinic has had excellent outcomes so far.
Dr. Fields founded ApproRx, a pharmacist-friendly pharmacy benefits manager that caters to securing medication therapy management (MTM) and wellness payments for pharmacists. ApproRx does not use mail order, and instead 90-day supplies of prescriptions are dispensed at the retail level. He has also convinced third party administrators and insurance plans that it is to their benefit to sell plans that include MTM services by pharmacists.
President/ Owner, Med-Fast Pharmacy
Doug Kaleugher, a nontraditional pharmacist-entrepreneur, develops all types of businesses to solve problems in the field.
Kaleugher considered enrolling in law school until an encounter at a poorly run pharmacy sparked his interest in improving the profession. Today, Kaleugher owns 5 Med-Fast pharmacies that use a fleet of 30 cars for their free delivery service. To meet his pharmacies’ demand for vehicles, Kaleugher bought a rental car franchise and is testing the idea of renting cars via his pharmacy.
Kaleugher continues to diversify. His mail-order business processes 6000 prescriptions per week, and his long-term care business is growing rapidly. Although his interests are varied—he also owns a limousine service and a sign-making company—Kaleugher is committed first and foremost to providing the best customer service for his patients. This is evidenced by the fact that the Med-Fast Pharmacy 24-hour line is his own cell number.
Kaleugher encourages an entrepreneurial spirit in his employees as well. When a pharmacy technician revealed a passion for compounding, he gave her the space to start her own successful compounding business. In addition, employees are invited to offer suggestions to save money or streamline operations, with the best ideas receiving prizes at the end of the year.
Although business-savvy, Kaleugher is not all about the bottom line. When the father of one of his long-time employees grew ill, Kaleugher quietly covered his medical costs, demonstrating that taking care of others remains this entrepreneur’s driving force.
CEO/President, Black Forest Pharmacy Services, Ltd Owner, GuidePoint Pharmacy
Michael Schwartzwald capitalized on his experience revitalizing failing pharmacies to start his own successful ventures.
A former pharmacy manager for CUB Pharmacy, Schwartzwald was tasked with turning around struggling pharmacies. In 3 years, he transformed 3 pharmacies from underperforming to flourishing. The secret to Schwartzwald’s success was a simple but critical combination of technology, patient counseling, and high-quality customer service.
With the tools in place, Schwartzwald took the plunge into independent ownership. He purchased GuidePoint Pharmacy in Brainerd in 2001, and has since become the majority owner of 5 more pharmacies. Schwartzwald offers a suite of important services to his patients, including MTM, health and wellness screenings, compounding services, insulin pump training and footwear products for patients with diabetes, and immunization clinics.
Schwartzwald willingly shares his business acumen with other entrepreneurs. He is a HealthMart Ambassador and helps other independent pharmacists in Wisconsin and Minnesota develop or strengthen their businesses. When a local small town pharmacy was sold, potentially forcing its patients to switch to mail order, Schwartzwald stepped in. By offering to mentor 2 young pharmacists in pharmacy ownership, he helped save the business, which had been in operation since 1903.
Schwartzwald has received a Best in Class award from Outcomes for the delivery of superior MTM in central Minnesota and an Innovation Award from Mirixa in recognition of best pharmacy practices in managing patient outcomes.