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Cardinal Health, RBC attendees donate $344,000 to Wounded Warrior Project

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — Cardinal Health’s commitment to the Wounded Warrior Project continued to shine bright at this year’s Retail Business Conference in Washington, D.C., as Cardinal Health once again held a silent auction to raise funds. Retired Army Staff Sergeant Erick Millette shared how Wounded Warrior Project saved his life.

"We have been partnered with Cardinal Health for four years, and they are true stewards of our mission, which is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. Not only have they helped raise more than $1.4 million to help support our 20 life-saving programs, they have also energized their employees to support our nation's great heroes,” said Brea Kratzert, director of strategic partnerships at Wounded Warrior Project. “We are incredibly grateful to Cardinal Health, their employees and customers.  With their support we are able to make a true impact and work toward our vision of fostering the most successful, well-adjusted generation of injured service members in our nation's history."

Cardinal Health once again held a silent online auction in support of the Wounded Warrior Project.  Cardinal Health employees, together with customer and vendors who attended RBC, raised more than $194,000 for Wounded Warrior Project and the Cardinal Health Foundation contributed $150,000 — raising a grand total of $344,000 for the organization in 2014 alone.

“The members of Wounded Warrior Project understand as well as anyone the impact change can have on our lives. These are the brave men and women whose dedication to our country is steadfast, yet they have faced what most of us might see as devastating changes,” said Marc DeLorenzo, VP Independent Sales East Region at Cardinal Health. “But rather than let their injuries diminish their spirits, they have built a network of support to help each other adjust to some of life’s most intense changes.”

To share how Wounded Warrior Project has changed his life, Millette, a former combat patrol leader in Iraq, took to the stage during the Opening Night Celebration.

“Erick’s military career as a combat patrol leader in the U.S. Army is a story of survival against all odds. He suffered many injuries due to multiple direct hits by improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Despite a challenging recovery, Erick’s feelings echo many Wounded Warriors when he says, ‘I believe each day is a gift, and I want to help injured service members live that gift to its fullest,” DeLorenzo said.

After surviving multiple direct hits by IEDs, Millette was forced to retire in December 2007. Millette said it was then that his life began to unravel as he battled feelings of guilt, anger and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I began to self-medicate heavily with alcohol. I became suicidal. I locked myself in solitary confinement within that prison in my mind. I was battling the invisible wounds that I didn’t understand. How could I expect anyone else to understand them?” said Millette. “I thought I was alone until November 2012 when I picked up the phone, and I called Wounded Warrior Project.”

Today, thanks to the support he has received over the years through Wounded Warrior Project, Millette said he no longer has thoughts of suicide or a desire self medicate.

“It is because of everyone in this room that Wounded Warrior Project can offer their 20 high-touch, high-impact programs and services at no charge to our warriors and their families,” Millette told attendees. “… All of you had a part in helping to save my life.”

Throughout the year, Cardinal Health’s independent pharmacy customers also took it upon themselves to raise funds for Wounded Warrior Project. For example, Dale’s Southlake Pharmacy hosted its 3rd Annual Warrior Walk. As part of the effort, Southlake Pharmacy staff pharmacist Ron Stephens helped raise awareness and funds for Wounded Warrior Project by walking 300 miles throughout local communities in central and northern Illinois. Together with its partner, Doc’s Drugs, Dale’s Southlake Pharmacy collected $43,000.

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Barry Bryant wins Ken Wurster Community Leadership Award

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — Barry Bryant, owner of Barney’s Pharmacy in Augusta, Ga., is a true community advocate whose acts of kindness and education have earned him this year’s Ken Wurster Community Leadership Award at the 24th annual Cardinal Health Retail Business Conference held in Washington, D.C.

This annual award honors a retail independent pharmacist who promotes the ideals of community pharmacy and demonstrates the important role retail pharmacists can play in delivering quality patient care. Nominees, selected by fellow independent pharmacists and Cardinal Health leaders, are evaluated on a variety of criteria, including community service and involvement, ability to inspire others, and commitment to making their communities better places to live.

“Our winner is a perfect example of what the Ken Wurster Community Leadership Award means,” said Steve Lawrence, SVP of Independent Sales for Cardinal Health, who noted that Bryant’s community outreach efforts begin within his pharmacy.

Bryant organizes and hosts support group meetings for breast cancer and ostomy patients; hosts a free Health Fair every fall where he offers free health screenings and wellness classes; and supports many local community groups through charitable giving. He also has created a patient education program that features free classes each month on such topics as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, COPD/asthma, depression/mental illness and weight loss.

“It is a humbling honor to be recognized for something that all of the pharmacists [in this room] do each and every day. It is what we do,” said Bryant upon receiving the award during the Opening Night Celebration on July 24. “If I can do this, any of you can do this.”

As a way of recognizing Bryant’s commitment to community service to the pharmacy profession and residents of the Augusta area, Cardinal Health will donate $5,000 to the University of South Carolina School of Pharmacy and $5,000 to the University of Georgia School of Pharmacy in Bryant’s honor.

Additional finalists for the 2014 Ken Wurster Community Leadership Award included:

  • Chukwuma Madu of Freeport Medical Supply in Freeport, N.Y.;
  • Robert Gisnik of Southrifty Drug in Southampton, N.Y.;
  • George Hammons of Knox Professional Pharmacy in Barbourville, Ky.; and
  • Deborah Walker Robinson of Walker’s Pharmacy in Newton, N.C.

This annual award was created in honor of Tampa, Fla., independent pharmacist Ken Wurster, who passed away in 2008. Wurster was highly regarded for his commitment to serving his customers, and epitomized the role of a pharmacist who took responsibility for the wellness of his community.

All nominations were evaluated by members of Cardinal Health’s National Retail Advisory Board and a team of Cardinal Health employees. The five finalists were sent to an executive committee, including Cardinal Health leadership and NRAB members who together selected Bryant for his community commitment.
 

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Cardinal Health names three winners of Best Practices Competition

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Cardinal Health this year named three winners of its prestigious Independent Pharmacy Best Practices Competition, in place of just one, during the company’s Retail Business Conference in late July.

The Best Practice Competition winners — Mac’s Pharmacy in Knoxville, Tenn.; TLC Pharmacy in Mission, Texas; and Mingo Pharmacy in Mingo Junction, Ohio — were selected as industry trendsetters whose successful, real-world models serve as an example for other community pharmacies across the country. All three winners are featured in the 2014 Cardinal Health Retail Pharmacy Best Practice Guide, which includes case studies for each, along with dozens of other best practice stories from retail pharmacists across the country.

Cardinal Health’s Bill Hayden, VP sales west region, introduced the three Best Practices Competition winners, saying: “This year, rather than choose three finalists and then one winner, we decided to award all three.”

Mac’s Pharmacy in Knoxville, Tenn. — run by Mac Wilhoit and his son, Mike — utilized a program that synchronizes and packages monthly prescription refills in ways that greatly improve the success of patients taking the right medicines at the right times. “Under the MediSync [and MediSync Plus] program[s], the pharmacy takes full control of a patient’s medication management by handling refills, prior authorizations and medication changes,” Hayden said. “Each patient is also assigned a MediSync coordinator who calls every month for pill counts, to check adherence and to go over the patient’s medication needs.”

The pharmacy filled six more refills per prescription, per year on average for each customer. “The majority of the patients who are on this program are the ones who are on the most medications,” noted Mike Wilhoit. “A lot of them are on 10 or more medications. By getting them on the program, they don’t have to worry about refills. All those things are being taken care of for them.”

At TLC Pharmacy in Mission, Texas, which suffered a sharp downturn in its durable medical equipment business when Medicare implemented a competitive bidding policy that shifted sales to larger suppliers, operations manager Joe Vargas shifted its focus to items that needed a clinician’s touch and weren’t easily subject to competitive bidding. One of its most successful strategies was focusing on fitting therapeutic shoes for diabetic patients. With four technicians trained on fitting shoes, the operation sells as many as 20 pairs of therapeutic shoes per day. “These patients [also get] their diabetic test strips and supplies when purchasing shoes,” Hayden noted. “Aiding in their success, TLC Pharmacy found a supplier partner in Independence Medical that was critical in helping them secure advantageous pricing on some of their medical supplies. TLC Pharmacy is a perfect example on how you can capitalize on a tough situation and still be competitive in your business.”

“We looked at our current market and our patient’s needs, but most importantly we looked at the product mix that we were carrying and basically focused on those products that were not going to be included in competitive bidding,” Vargas said.

And at Mingo Pharmacy in Mingo Junction, Ohio, pharmacist Frank Vostatek went back to school to become a registered nurse. He may be the nation’s first registered pharmacist who is also a registered nurse and a family nurse practitioner. “Not only is he providing better patient care in his community, he’s also helping his business grow,” Hayden said.

Vostatek said these additional licenses allow him to tap his deep knowledge of pharmacy and “practice at the top of my license.” He can administer all injections, and provide comprehensive wellness and illness care to children and adults. In coordination with a physician, he now also can write prescriptions. “As a pharmacist, we’re in one of those professions where right now it seems like we only get paid for what we sell. Really the most valuable part of what we do is what we know, and it’s hard to be remunerated for that,” Vostatek said. “I was tired of having customers, and I wanted to convert those into patients. … Being a nurse really helped me change my whole philosophy on how I view the patients who come into the pharmacy.”

To help support Vostatek, Mingo Pharmacy built a 1,300-sq.-ft. clinic addition, adding four patient suites that provide a broad range of urgent care services. “Another thing that we did was we incorporated a conference room into our pharmacy, which is already being used by a licensed chemical dependency counselor,” added Melissa Vostatek, fellow owner/operator. “We made a lot of changes, and the community is very excited about those changes we made.”

The 2014 Best Practice winners directed a $3,500 donation — made by Cardinal Health — to the pharmacy school or pharmacy association of their choice. The donation recipients included the Tennessee Pharmacy Association, Texas Southern University and Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio.

 

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