A patient goes to their local charitable clinic, is diagnosed, treated and given a prescription to complete the healing process. The patient is on the road to recovery. There is, however, a very large barrier sitting in the middle of the road: the patient’s inability to obtain the prescribed medicine. In no time, the patient is back in the clinic or emergency room, very likely even sicker than before.
The Clinic has recognized this barrier and has made its medication room central to its day-to-day clinic operations. Here, our patients receive their medications, free of charge, when they come for their appointment.
While the medication room is a marvel of efficiency, it is the epitome of teamwork.
Adriana Seczon, a certified pharmacy technician and medication room coordinator, oversees all operations in the medication room, which dispenses medications valued at over $250,000 during a typical month. Her duties require that she fill and label all medications appropriately and check all prescriptions to ensure that patients receive the correct medications. Adriana also supervises and conducts performance evaluations of medication room technicians. She produces regular reports on a daily, monthly and quarterly basis on pharmacy expenditures and services. The list could continue, but suffice it to say, her job description is four pages long. She needs support from a platoon of volunteers who have a wide range of talents. All are enthusiastic. Without the pharmacy team, the system breaks down quickly.
It would be impossible in this small space, to give a full picture of how our patients get their medications. Perhaps an overview of the med room jobs will provide a little insight.
Med Room Assistant/Technician:
This is a real hands-on job. The job entails keeping track of the medications: what medications are needed, what is on hand and what is expiring. The med room assistant also restocks the vials, labels and other supplies. This volunteer makes sure the med room can deliver the medications our patients need.
Patient Assistance Programs (PAP):
The majority of the patients’ medications come through pharmaceutical companies that provide free medications. The PAP volunteers enroll the patient into a particular company’s program and write requests to order medications. This must be done on a more or less continuous basis in order to obtain refills. These volunteers are detail oriented, take initiative, have computer skills and are flexible.
The Drug runner is the UPS of the med room and has to have the ability to work under pressure. At every clinic you will see this volunteer pick up the prescriptions from the Nurse’s Station, then deliver them to the med room, and once filled, return to the Nurses’ Station. Roller skates are on order.
The medication room, with its professional staff and volunteers, is part of the reason the Neighborhood Health Clinic can provide hope and healing to thousands in our community.