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Pennsylvania Pharmacists Care Network (PPCN) and STRAND Continue their Innovative Partnership with Gateway Health

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- PPCN and STRAND are pleased to mark another year of their continued partnership with Gateway Health in caring for the medication related needs of Medicaid members in a new way.  Since 2017, Gateway Health members using a PPCN pharmacy have been able to have a sit down, face-to-face appointment with the PPCN pharmacist to help them manage their medications with the focus on better overall health.  Members report that they are pleased with the program as well as the rest of the Gateway Health Care Management team.

"PPCN pharmacists are excited to have the ability to continue providing enhanced care for the patients in their communities," said Dr. Stephanie McGrath, Executive Director of Network Operations, PPCN.  "Our pharmacists leverage the high-quality pharmacy services they provide to identify and resolve medication-related problems.  Our pharmacists employ a process, above and beyond dispensing, that is designed to enable patients to use their medications properly and achieve the best possible outcome."

Dr. Jeramie Thomas, Manager, Pharmacy Care Management, at Gateway Health stated that "At Gateway Health we believe that our members don't just benefit from personalized care – they deserve it. By partnering with PPCN pharmacies we have an opportunity to connect our members face-to-face with one of the most trusted health care professionals, pharmacists."

"PPCN's enhanced services have repeatedly resulted in improved outcomes for our members," stated Dr. Thomas. Most recently a member with transportation barriers and severe pain due to hip replacement faced a dire situation. As a result the member was out of pain medication and was taking over the recommended daily dose of Tylenol to cope with the pain of the surgery. In the end, our partnership with PPCN helped our case manager avoid an unnecessary hospitalization for unresolved pain, potential liver failure due to Tylenol toxicity, and helped our member get back on the path of recovery. "Both the member and I were blown away by how incredibly easy and willing the pharmacy was able to assist in this situation. They truly did break down the barriers for this member. I truly feel that if the member had not received pain medication due to the barriers, the member would have been admitted to the hospital," Megan Homway, Case Manager, stated.

This partnership is one of the first of its kind allowing for pharmacists to be compensated for cognitive services.  Specifically, these community pharmacists are providing comprehensive medication management services.  In short, they will now have the ability to sit down with these patients and review all of their medications.  During this visit, they will be ensuring each and every medication the patient is taking is appropriate for them, there are no unwanted side effects, it is effective for their condition and that the patient is able to take it as prescribed, making sure to communicate back with any and all providers the patient may see for their care.  With an increase in chronic diseases managed in large part by prescription medications as well as the high frequency at which many patients see multiple providers for care, the need for one person to look at and focus on the medications is needed now more than ever. 

In addition to this effective use of the PPCN pharmacists' medication knowledge, the partnership with STRAND allows for all of the documentation to be electronically recorded and transmitted to the electronic health record of the physician providing care.  It captures medications, health concerns, drug therapy problems, medication support needs as well as the pharmacist's interventions and health outcomes over time all in a format called the Pharmacist eCare plan.  This cutting-edge technology is critical for the community pharmacist to be able to document and communicate with the rest of the health care team. 

"By utilizing STRAND, pharmacists in PPCN have a first of its kind, edge-to-edge-capability of documenting, communicating with other health care providers, and billing for services," said Ashley Keller, Director of Strategic Partnerships. "Today's clinical landscape is changing and pharmacists are ready to elevate the level of care they provide for their patients. They need a clinical services platform that keeps pace with the rapid changes in the industry. The STRAND platform is that technology. We are excited to continue to grow our partnership with PPCN, which allows pharmacists new reimbursement opportunities to provide patient care."

This vision to create a high-quality community pharmacy network in order that community pharmacists could have the opportunity to enhance the care they provide to patients everyday has been supported and led by the University of Pittsburg School of Pharmacy Center for Leadership and Innovation in Practice (CLIP).

"The University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy is committed to engaging pharmacists in their communities to provide enhanced care. This partnership is the culmination of a team effort to develop, train, and engage community pharmacists in order to improve the health and well-being of people in Pennsylvania," said Melissa Somma McGivney, PharmD, Associate Dean for Community Partnerships, University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, Member, PPCN Board of Directors. "The University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy is proud to have been a founding partner with the PPA in the development of PPCN and is excited to continue this partnership."

About PPCN 
PPCN's mission is to enable and support the delivery of quality pharmacy care and outcomes in collaboration with patients, practitioners and stakeholders involved in a patient's care. For more information, please visit: http://www.papharmacistsnetwork.com.

About STRAND
Co-founded by a community pharmacist and a technology expert in 2008, Creative Pharmacist, developer of the STRAND® clinical platform, is the U.S. market leader in helping pharmacists launch clinical services within their community. They support community pharmacists across the country in engaging patients with chronic disease, such as diabetes, through STRAND®, a wide-reaching intervention, documentation, medical billing, and education platform capable of developing the new Pharmacist eCare plan. Their mission is to transform the community pharmacy marketplace by inspiring and empowering pharmacists to engage clinical pharmacy practice to improve both the health of their business and the health of their patients. For more information, please visit: http://www.creativepharmacist.com.

About Gateway Health 
Gateway Health is a leading managed care organization that believes total health and wellness cannot be attained by simply providing access to health care. In addition to physical health, Gateway Health addresses behavioral health and socioeconomic challenges of nearly 550,000 members across Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Delaware, and West Virginia. Gateway Health's 1,800 associates focus on enhancing the lives of plan members through innovative care models and tailored approaches to health management, delivered in partnership with a robust network of more than 80,000 primary care physicians, specialists, hospitals, and other ancillary providers. On a broader scale Gateway Health is embedded in neighborhoods, providing meaningful programs and outreach to the community-at-large. Meeting members where they are, coupled with a commitment to treating the whole person is what enables each of them to say "I'm Good with Gateway".

About the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy 
The School of Pharmacy has been developing leaders who are driving the future of pharmacy for over 135 years. Faculty members investigate, discover, and create ways to improve patient health, including patients in the community. Faculty personalize the education of students, incorporating award-winning approaches to education and assessment as well as patient simulators, educational games, real world experiences with interprofessional teams. Among its outstanding programs is work to stem the misuse and abuse of opiates through interventions, policy, and research. Chartered in 1878, the School of Pharmacy ranks ninth in US News & World Report and is the oldest of the University of Pittsburgh's Schools of the Health Sciences. For more information, please visit: http://www.pharmacy.pitt.edu.

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SOURCE Gateway Health; Pennsylvania Pharmacists Care Network