Spotlight on Incentive Grant Outcomes

Holly P. Fahey, PharmD

2013 Daniel A. Herbert Incentive Grant Recipient
PGY1 Community Care Pharmacy Practice Resident, The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy

Incentive Grant Project: Evaluate the impact that Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio (CPCO) has on an indigent patient population.

Holly Fahey is a first year pharmacy resident at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy and recipient of the APhA Foundation’s 2013 Daniel A. Herbert Incentive Grant. Her grant project focused on pharmacist-delivered services provided by the Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio (CPCO), a nonprofit independent pharmacy whose primary purpose is to increase access to pharmacy services including free medication, health and wellness education, and education about free or low cost primary health care clinics. Fahey set out to demonstrate that CPCO patient care services can decrease hospital utilization rates and increase medication adherence, ultimately impacting overall health care costs. Fahey’s successful project outcomes have already been repurposed into a marketing tool by the CPCO executive director to highlight the importance of charitable pharmacy services and increase donations to the organization.   

Fahey reflects on both the challenging and rewarding moments in project implementation. Patient literacy levels were frequently low and required creative use of verbal instructions and one-on-one interviews to assist with permission forms and health surveys. Fahey enlisted the help of pharmacy students to meet with patients and transfer verbal responses into a computer on patients’ behalf. The rewards, however, far outnumbered the challenges. Fahey recalls one patient who no longer had health insurance and therefore stopped refilling his medication, which resulted in him staying in the hospital for a month. Afterwards, he was referred to CPCO for counseling and medication assistance, and is now back on his medication and understands the importance of taking it.  

Fahey was overwhelmed with the number of patients who chose to participate in her project. Patients were given a $5.00 Kroger gift card to participate in evaluations that measured hospital visits, medication use and overall health status. Fahey acknowledged that the gift card was a powerful incentive. Many patients are homeless, mostly middle aged, with limited income and reduced access to state assistance programs. Fahey recalls one patient who requested his gift card be given to another patient whose needs were greater. When the patient received the gift card, his teary-eyed acknowledgment of thanks made an everlasting impression on Fahey and emphasized the important work of charitable pharmacy services.

Fahey is working on a manuscript to publish her project outcomes. She hopes that others may learn from this charitable pharmacy service model and replicate similar services. Fahey remarks, “I see the huge impact we make from the care we provide to our patients every day and how thankful they are. It also serves as a stimulating, hands-on learning experience for our advanced practice pharmacy students on experiential rotations. I would love for this model to spread to other communities in need.” Fahey presented her project outcomes at the Ohio Pharmacy Resident Conference on May 17, 2013.