Monday, June 18, 2012

New Rural Outreach for Carilion Clinic

Carilion's Nancy Agee
Carilion Clinic will launch a three year program to improve the health of patients in rural Virginia through better management of their medications. The program will be funded by a $4.1 million award from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. The award is part of CMS’s Health Care Innovation Challenge, a $1 billion fund to support initiatives that have the potential to improve care and lower the overall cost of healthcare.

The Carilion Clinic project will focus on improving the management of medications for patients in 23 rural counties served by Carilion New River Valley Medical Center (CNRV), five community hospitals and 17 primary care practices.
“This is great news for our patients,” said Carilion President and CEO Nancy Howell Agee. “We’ve already seen promising results with chronically ill patients in our Patient Centered Medical Home practices. This award will make it possible to expand our reach further into our rural communities.”

The program will be based at CNRV, in partnership with Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy, Aetna Healthcare and CVS/Caremark. CNRV will train more than 30 pharmacists in advanced care and chronic disease management protocols. Through care coordination and shared access to electronic medical records, the pharmacists will work directly with patients to help them manage their medications, resulting in better health, reduced hospitalizations and emergency room visits, and fewer adverse drug events.

“We truly believe this project can make a difference, both in quality and cost of care,” said John Piatkowski, M.D., Carilion Clinic Vice President and CEO of CNRV.  “As physicians, we can manage patients’ medications when they are hospitalized but after they leave, mistakes or failure to take medicines as required can result in serious consequences, unnecessary hospitalizations and worsening chronic conditions.” According to Piatkowski, extending close medication management into outpatient settings can significantly improve the safety and efficacy of the medication administration.

The program also advances the role of pharmacists in improving the health of patients, according to William Lee, Director of Pharmaceutical Services for CNRV and the Carilion Western region hospitals.  “The ongoing monitoring process will not only increase patient safety and compliance but also decrease any potential adverse events from the medication therapy,” Lee says. “The impact of the adoption of electronic health records and other new technologies has now made it possible for the pharmacists to make an even greater difference in our community.”

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