Ken Wurster award winner a ‘shining example’ of community pharmacy
Before the Blues Brothers took the stage Friday night, July 22 at Cardinal Health RBC 2016, attendees celebrated one of their peers — the winner of the 2016 Ken Wurster Community Leadership Award. Cardinal Health honored Ed Christofano, owner of Hayden’s Pharmacy in Youngwood, Pennsylvania with the award, which recognizes an independent pharmacist with an outstanding commitment to promoting the principles of community pharmacy.
Christofano was recognized for his community leadership, ability to inspire others and willingness to go beyond the day-to-day tasks of pharmacy to make his community better. Christofano and his pharmacy work to combat prescription drug abuse by offering education symposiums and community presentations, going as far as purchasing 800 pill lockboxes for community members to properly dispose of medications. Additionally, he has built a bocce court in his neighborhood and hosted holiday events to thank his community for their support.
“Whenever the town is in need of some cheer, our winner steps up to the plate, whether to build a bocce court for the enjoyment of the neighborhood or hosting a ‘Light up the Night’ Christmas event to thank the community for their support of local businesses,” Cardinal Health VP Sales for the Central Region Chris Lanctot said at the ceremony. Also on hand was Cardinal Health CEO Pharmaceutical segment Jon Giacomin, who called Christofano “an inspiration to us all.”
Christofano received an engraved crystal award for his pharmacy, and Cardinal Health donated $10,000 in his honor to the Ohio State University College of Pharamcy’s Generation Rx program.
Christofano was 1-of-5 finalists for the Ken Wurster award. Finalist Marcie Parker of HealthWise Pharmacy of Greenville and Therapeutic Solutions Vital Care in Wake Forest and Greensboro, North Carolina, was named a 40 under 40 this year by East Carolina University and began a charity called Bryson’s Birdies for Kids, which raises money for the Children’s Miracle Network. As the mother of a son with cancer, she brings the cancer crusade to her pharmacy, too.
Mark Zilner, of Diamond Pharmacy Services and Medical Supply in Indiana, Pennsylvania, sponsors free education conferences for nurses and nursing home administrators. His company has been named one of Inc. 500’s Top 500 and Top 5000 Fastest Growing Independently Owned Companies, and was named one of the Top 100 People in Business by Pennsylvania Business Central.
Finalist Bianca Delgado has a focus on outreach within and outside of her practice. In addition to her work at Farmacia Lechuga in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, she is part of Christian motorcyclist group “Road to Heaven” and volunteers for various activities in the northern region of the Puerto Rico College of Pharmacists. Delgado also plans and organizes for various pharmacy and charitable organizations in Puerto Rico.
The final nominee, John Hoeschen, owner of St. Paul Corner Drug in St. Paul, Minnesota, has plugged himself into the community by maintaining the local outdoor ice rink and acting as a member of Small Business Minnesota, school organizations, church groups and other community nonprofit organizations. Hoeschen also invites the community into his pharmacy by inviting local artists to sell their books there and hosting an annual Christmas party.
“Some people see an issue or a gap, and they take action. They utilize their passion to fuel positive change, giving back to their communities. They have grit,” Lanctot said. “They are brave. They lead the way. They are community pharmacists. And our 2016 Ken Wurster Community Leadership Award winner is a shining example.”
Managing and protecting the pharmaceutical supply chain
One-out-of-every-6 pharmaceutical products dispensed to U.S. patients travels through the Cardinal Health network. Through the company’s Pharmaceutical Distribution supply chain, Cardinal Health consolidates product orders from hundreds of manufacturers into pharmacy-specific deliveries for 33,000 retail, hospital and alternate-site locations.
Not resting on its laurels, the Cardinal Health distribution supply chain continues to focus on efforts to protect the supply chain and manage drug shortages.
Protecting the safety and security of the supply chain
Cardinal Health supports efforts to combat counterfeiting, contamination and adulteration of prescription drugs as it tries to guarantee a safe and reliable drug supply chain to ensure patient health and well-being. The pharmacy distributor is continually working to provide pharmacy owners with resources to ensure the drugs in the supply chain are safe by providing transaction data for eligible drugs online at no cost to pharmacy owners.
The company also works closely with manufacturers to collect appropriate data and ensure their ongoing compliance with the Under the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA).
As dispensers of prescription drugs, pharmacists and healthcare providers are required to adhere to strict guidelines for accepting ownership and keeping records of those products, including:
- Trade only with authorized trading partners;
- Have processes in place to identify suspect and illegitimate product;
- Only accept ownership of a prescription drugs if the previous owner provides transaction data; and
- Maintain transaction data for six years and be able to provide it upon request from the Food and Drug Administration or other federal or state official in the event of a recall or investigation.
Cardinal Health makes this transaction data for eligible prescription drugs purchased available online, and pharmacy owners may also enter into an agreement for Cardinal Health to maintain the transaction data on their behalf.
In addition, Cardinal Health provides a variety of cold chain packaging to meet geographic, environmental and transportation needs. The refrigerated totes and phase change panels help ensure that refrigerated pharmaceuticals have been maintained within the labeled storage temperature ranges during transportation.
The cold chain packaging keeps refrigerated product safe, maintaining a temperature of 2-8°C (36-46°F) regardless of the season or geography, and regardless of the amount of product shipped.
The tote program uses phase change panels that contain a USDA-registered, vegetable oil-based food product that is non-toxic, environmentally friendly and reusable. The product also has been recognized by the Healthcare Distribution Management Association with the 2012 HDMA Distribution Management Award and was selected by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals for the 2012 Supply Chain Innovation Award (2nd Place).
Managing drug shortages
Cardinal Health also is sensitive to the issues that result from the national drug shortage crisis. To help patients and pharmacies through shortages, Cardinal Health proactively manages available product and replenishes inventory when product is out of stock. Cardinal Health also works with manufacturers to get product availability information as soon as possible, so pharmacy owners can be notified.
Utilizing Order Express, the Cardinal Health online ordering site, pharmacy owners can review product availability reports, manage backorders and view the current inventory of product in the nearby primary Cardinal Health distribution center.
For all of these efforts in securing and managing the pharmacy supply chain, Cardinal Health has been named by Gartner Research as the No. 1 supply chain organization for four consecutive years. Cardinal Health also has received the Defense Logistics Award from the U.S. Department of Defense.
Yost Pharmacy: Past and present meet
Dave Yost and Sarah McClain have community pharmacy in their blood. Their grandfather opened Yost Pharmacy — which they now own and operate — on Main Street in Mason, Ohio, in 1945. In the ensuing 71 years, the pharmacy has become a pillar of the community in ways that go beyond the doors of the pharmacy. Drug Store News spoke with Yost and McClain about their family’s dedication to community pharmacy and how they protect Yost Pharmacy’s legacy while meeting patient needs in the 21st century.
DSN: Why did you take up pharmacy and continue the family business?
Sarah McClain: I think a lot of it revolves around seeing the community involvement and being part of what at that time was a very small town — seeing it grow and be able to continue to have those local connections and that community feeling — and to see the business make a real impact on people’s lives.
DSN: What position would you say Yost Pharmacy occupies in your community, and what sorts of impact are you able to have as a result of that position?
Dave Yost: You kind of become a community staple when you’re around for three generations and when you’re in one place for over 70 years. We haven’t changed locations, and there’ve been a few remodels over the years. But the building stays basically the same — and you just become a fixture of the community, so you support the other things that go in the community like the sports teams and the theater. Your relationships with physicians become entrenched. When they have a question, they pick up the phone and call you as opposed to the new store that pops in or the CVS around the corner that maybe hasn’t been around as long.
As far as our place in the community, it’s that feeling that you become a fixture in the community and you touch everything just a bit. Obviously, we have a big role in the medical piece, but you just kind of become part of the everyday landscape of people’s lives. So when you grow up in it, you’re a part of that. It kind of just becomes a part of you, and it’s something that makes you want to keep it going.
DSN: What services have you introduced recently to help meet your community’s needs?
McClain: We have a number of services. We offer a delivery service, and that’s not a new service. It’s something we’ve always done, but it certainly has grown significantly as the demand for that increases. I think as the demographics have changed, there are more people who have challenges getting to the pharmacy and need that delivery. We provide a lot of medical equipment that’s not readily available from other pharmacies in the area, as well as vaccination services and compliance packaging. We also work with a number of the local assisted living and nursing facilities to meet some of the needs of their patients.
DSN: You mentioned that you’ve offered delivery for some time — what other sorts of legacy services are still in use today?
Yost: One of the biggest services is compounding. It’s definitely something that was standard practice for pharmacy when our grandfather started, and then it sort of became less popular. We kept doing it through that decline in popularity, and now it’s made a nice comeback. Being able to compound individual dosage forms to meet specific patient needs is increasing in demand as the drug pipeline is slowing down. Just today, I had two prescriptions faxed from chain pharmacies that either couldn’t do it or didn’t want to mess with it.
Delivery also is certainly something that, again, was on a much smaller scale throughout the three generations — and we do more of it now than we ever did — but it’s something we’ve done throughout our tenure. And just as with general pharmacy — the over the counter items, the bandaging, the specialty devices — those kinds of things have always been a niche for our business. They’ve waxed and waned depending on the needs of the community, but it’s something we’ve always done.
DSN: What Cardinal Health solutions do you use to run your pharmacy?
Yost: We use the Cardinal Health Inventory Manager (CIM). That piece has really helped control our inventory, which helps our cash flow and allows us to reinvest in the business so we can hire people we need to deliver these extra services or get new technology that we need to execute the increased volume demand. It frees up cash in case we need another delivery car or something — it’s some money in the bank because you’ve got a graduate-level type of inventory management working on your behalf. It’s something we couldn’t put together on our own, for sure.
We also take advantage of the RCS dashboard, which helps monitor our claims that are underwater and losing money. It helps monitor patients who aren’t adherent. When it comes to Star ratings, we can identify the patients a little easier through the dashboard, and we can reach out to them and try to get their compliance up. It helps us make sure we’re maximizing our insurance reimbursement. We also use the Reconciliation Complete to monitor our payments and make sure we’re collecting all the billables we have out to third parties. The other piece is the level of service we get from our local sales representatives. They’re ultra-attentive to our needs and responsive, which is a contrast to what we were getting with the supplier we used before Cardinal Health.
DSN: What is the most important feature of a community pharmacy?
Yost: It’s genuine relationships and personalized service. We try to accommodate, as best we can, all the individual needs of our patients, which can be a challenge as your patient population grows. But people respond to that, and your business grows — you just have to meet the challenge of meeting everyone’s needs. That’s how community pharmacies survive. They are creative, and they find a way to make it work. So whether it’s our store or other community pharmacies, the thing that’s important is the personalized service and the relationships you build with your patients. You can identify your patients by name. When they walk through the door, and you know they’re eligible for some extra service, you can ask them right there. You don’t have to drag them in for an appointment with someone they’ve never met before, and they tend to be a lot more honest and forthright with you. It just means you can take better care of them because it’s a much healthier atmosphere.