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Published on July 17, 2017

This may prevent a return trip to the hospitalThis may prevent a return trip to the hospital

When Gail Patten of Centerville was recently discharged from the Orthopedic Unit at Cape Cod Hospital, she was glad that she didn’t have to stop on the way home to fill her prescriptions. Her medications and written instructions were delivered to her bedside on the morning of her discharge by Michelle Theoharidis, a pharmacy technician in the Cape Cod Hospital retail pharmacy.

“I’m not going to have to swing by the local pharmacy, this is the ultimate in convenience,” said Patten.

In-hospital pharmacy programs are valuable to hospitals and patients because they prevent re-hospitalizations and improve outcomes, according to the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). Some of the benefits include identifying and addressing potential barriers for filling the prescriptions.

At Cape Cod Hospital, the “Meds-to-Beds” program is enhancing patients’ transition home by allowing them to have their discharge medications in hand when they leave the hospital. The program, which started less than one year ago, is helping ensure that patients are filling their medications after discharge, according to Peter Scarafile, RPh, MS, pharmacy director at Cape Cod Healthcare.

“The program is really comprehensive and a different approach to pharmacy services,” he said. “It was developed to help reduce the barriers to filling prescriptions upon discharge from the hospital because statistics show that 30 percent of those prescriptions never get filled.”

Removes Barriers

Some of the barriers to filling medications are prior-authorizations, high costs, co-pays, or inability to pay for medications, according to Angela Medeiros, PharmD, pharmacy operations manager for Cape Cod Healthcare’s community pharmacies.

“We can take care of that right here at the hospital before the patient goes home. We will work with the physicians to get prior-authorization and we can review the formulary with them to check what is covered by insurance. We can also talk with patients’ physicians about other medications that can be prescribed, if changes need to be made to make it less expensive.”

Coupons are also available for those who can’t afford the medications, said Scarafile.

“We do whatever we can to help so they make sure to start their medications.”

The program is under the umbrella of the Cape Cod Healthcare retail pharmacies and patients pay their co-pays for their discharge medications at the bedside with a debit or credit card.

Patients have two options for getting their medications before discharge. They can:

  • Have your medications delivered to your bedside before leaving.
  • Stop by the retail pharmacy in the main lobby of the hospital, where prescriptions will be ready for pick-up on the patient’s way out the door.

It’s Also About Education

The second focus of the Meds-to-Beds program is education. In addition to teaching the patients about their medications, the retail pharmacists also educate groups in the community.

“All of our retail pharmacists are certified in Medication Therapy Management (MTM),” said Medeiros. MTM is a certification program for pharmacists with training in evaluation of complicated medication regimens, identifying medication-related problems, and making recommendations to patients, caregivers, and health care professionals according to the APhA. “This provides a higher level of counseling for our patients,” noted Medeiros.

Medeiros and Scarafile attend the birthing classes for new parents and the pre-admission orthopedic classes to tell patients about pain management and the Meds-to-Beds programs.

“Our pharmacists also go to the heart failure, cardiac rehab and hepatitis clinics to counsel patients about their medications, how to take them, and help them with any concerns or issues,” said Medeiros.

Meds-to-Beds at Cape Cod Hospital is available: Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The retail pharmacy in the main lobby is open Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-7 p.m. and Saturday, Sunday and holidays 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

[FEATURED IMAGE: Patient, Gail Patten of Centerville receives her discharge medications from Michelle Theoharidis, pharmacy technician.]