2013 Patient Care Provider of the Year Finalists


Patient Care Provider of the Year

Patient Care Provider of the Year

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Alan Atchison’s career could be summarized by the relationships built with patients, physicians, and community members to find and fulfill unmet health needs.

His proactive approach to pharmacy is “born out of doing the right thing for the patient,” he says.

His roles as a pharmacist, pharmacist team leader, pharmacy manager, and registered store manager offers unique opportunities to fill those needs, while instilling a personal touch of his own.

As a Walgreens pharmacy manager, his participation in the North Texas Health Industry Council allowed him to develop relationships with leaders at the United Way Association on Aging, and paved the way for a Walgreens partnership providing offsite vaccine clinics. His team building skills took Walgreens pharmacies in his location from poor performance to high performance.

He currently works at a Walgreens pharmacy situated within a physician practice in St. Cloud, Minnesota, where he facilitated a relationship with local health care providers to help improve appropriate use of specialty medications. At the time Dr. Atchison began the program, it was rated as having “$0 potential for specialty drug business,” but he soon built specialty sales to more than $2.5 million.

Dr. Atchison accomplished the growth by working with specialty providers and other Walgreens locations in the region to set up behind-the-scenes systems to manage patient therapies. The systems assist with reimbursement approvals processes and patient copays.

To assist with medication waste and specialty inventory quality control, Dr. Atchison instituted a policy of contacting patients in advance of a refill to confirm the patient is still on the therapy. The practice also allows the pharmacy team to field patient questions regarding side effects, insurance or other concerns.

As a certified diabetes educator, Dr. Atchison began a diabetes education program, leading a team to develop and implement a comprehensive diabetes management program involving 24 Walgreens locations. Dr. Atchison follows up with program graduates regularly as well, monitoring their progress and encouraging their efforts.

Building on his success with that program, Dr. Atchison created and led the Minneapolis-market Diabetes Plan to Win to engage patients in actively managing their diabetes care.

Amy Bachyrycz is addressing the problems affecting patients in New Mexico head on.

In a state with the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation, the highest rates of prescription overdose deaths, and a shortage of health care professionals, Dr. Bachyrycz and her fellow New Mexico Pharmacists Association members are shaping the policy of pharmacy within the state. Their efforts expanded the pharmacist’s role within the state to allow them to prescribe contraceptive treatments to patients, offer immunizations, and prescribe tobacco cessation therapy. They also secured approval from the New Mexico Governing Board for Pharmacists to prescribe and administer tuberculosis testing in 2012.

The most recent efforts include drafting legislation designating hydrocodone as a controlled 2 substance, which would disallow refills of the drug, and making pseudoephedrine a prescription-only product in the hope that it will decrease methamphetamine production.

Dr. Bachyrycz is also managing efforts to achieve pharmacist prescriptive authority to prescribe and dispense Narcan Overdose Rescue Kits to patients on pain medication, in case of an accidental overdose.

She has also committed to serving her state’s uninsured and underinsured patients by offering community health screenings, immunization clinics, and free flu shot clinics. In an area with a shortage of physicians, and several rural and underserved communities, the efforts provide medical access that did not exist previously.

As a preceptor and mentor at the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy, Dr. Bachyrycz encourages participation in various community outreach programs, furthering the pharmacist’s role as leaders and active participants in patient health.

As a Walgreens Patient Care Center Clinical Pharmacist, Dr. Bachyrycz trains other Walgreens pharmacists throughout the state. Her program within the chain’s “Point of Care” program allows pharmacists to check patients’ blood pressure, cholesterol, body composition, and glucose levels. She also initiated and oversees the Immunization Center of Excellence program at 8 Walgreens locations.

Her involvement with Vision 2020, a collaborative program with community members and the University of New Mexico’s Health Science Center, aims to improve community health. She has directly championed community health causes that include health literacy, education, adult and youth smoking, obesity, chlamydia rates, dental health, and treatment of uninsured and Medicaid patients.

Lisa O’Hara’s vision for better pharmacy practice springs from her understanding of the misconceptions about pharmacy practice and her desire to improve the profession. Her vision led her to develop a business model to distinguish the pharmacist from the pharmacy, and it capitalizes on the pharmacist’s unique clinical skill set.

“Dr. O’Hara believes that the largest misconception in pharmacy is the idea that pharmacies, not the pharmacists themselves, offer clinical services,” her nomination read. “This misunderstanding does not allow the pharmacist to stand apart from the walls of the pharmacy, and forever ties the pharmacist to the pharmacy. Consequently, pharmacists do not receive recognition for their knowledge and clinical skills, but rather their ability to dispense medications. She believes that as reimbursement for medication continues to decline and the use of brand name medications decreases, pharmacists must step out from behind the counter and educate patients and prescribers.”

After graduating from Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in 2003, Dr. O’Hara joined an independent long-term care pharmacy as a consultant pharmacist. The experiences led her to become a certified geriatric pharmacist, and to create her own clinical services company for senior citizens, Comprehensive Therapy Specialists.

She joined GrandView Pharmacy in 2009 as corporate director of clinical services, furthering her goal of providing progressive, individualized, and comprehensive medical therapy to the aging population.

Her goal led her to dedicate time during 2012 to evaluating the use of psychotropic and antipsychotic medications in patients with dementia. Her aim while undertaking the evaluation was to reduce chemical restraints in the patient population, and improve patient safety and quality of life. At the close of 2012, the rate of antipsychotic use decreased by 28.6%.

Dr. O’Hara achieved the decrease by developing a “Behavior Health Evaluation Tool Kit” that incorporates a behavior management meeting template, drug information, dosing recommendations, and clinically relevant information from the patient’s health care providers.

A collaboration with the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) led to the development of a 4-alert system to improve AAA patient safety. The system evaluates a patient’s medication list of interactions, cognitive impairment, hospitalizations, and duplicate therapies.

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