May 2003

National Pharmacy Program Surpasses Savings Goal

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"We want people to feel challenged and empowered to take the initiative on what works best in their facilities." — Ron Broekemeier

Three-quarters of the way through the 2003 fiscal year, the National Pharmacy Program has achieved savings of $7.1 million, surpassing its goal of $5 million. The program identifies opportunities to improve quality of patient care and safety while decreasing or maintaining medication costs. "Medication costs continue to be one of the main cost drivers in health care," said George Hill, director of pharmacy services for Catholic Health Initiatives and co-chair of the National Pharmacy Council. "The program’s power comes from the accumulated savings of all Catholic Health Initiatives facilities. However, we evaluate the quality and safety of medications first and foremost, and cost containment is a byproduct of this focus."

The program is built around collaborative efforts between pharmacists, nurses and physicians and increases the amount of time pharmacists spend on direct patient care. The program decreases patient length of stay and the number of unnecessary medications patients take. Patient safety is improved through reduction of adverse drug events and fewer complications.

"We want people to feel challenged and empowered to take the initiative on what works best in their facilities," said Ron Broekemeier, director of pharmaceutical services for Franciscan Health System, Tacoma, Wash., and co-chair of the National Pharmacy Program. Each year, market-based pharmacy leaders evaluate the range of initiatives available through the National Pharmacy Program and decide which to implement. This year, 17 new initiatives were added to the list of program options, bringing the total to 130.

"It’s very rewarding to see pharmacists sharing ideas – for new therapies or technologies, best practices and developing future leaders – across the organization," noted Broekemeier.