Pinnacle Awards

2014 Government Agency–Nonprofit Organization–Association Award

El Rio Community Health Center

El Rio Community Health Center is a community-based Federally Qualified Health Center and the largest provider of medical and dental services to the uninsured and Medicaid populations in Pima County, Arizona. El Rio has 16 clinics, eight of which provide primary care, and serves over 75,000 patients annually—of which about two-thirds are Hispanic, just over ten percent are Native American, three-quarters live at or below the poverty line and nearly one-third are uninsured.

El Rio has implemented a highly successful clinical pharmacist-led diabetes disease management program since August 2001. This program is both an organizational intervention (pharmacy-led team care and quality improvement) and patient intervention (diabetes education and self-management training). In spite of the fact that the population it serves is at high risk for diabetes and diabetes-related complications, the El Rio system is ranked in the top quartile of HRSA grantees nationally for their proportion of diabetic patients who have an HbA1c level less than or equal to 9. Because of the success of this program and the established clinical pharmacy service at El Rio, the scope of work of the service was expanded to cover the Annual Wellness Visits for Medicare patients for preventive care services. The expanded services have been pivotal in showing a pharmacist’s value in primary prevention, in addition to showing a reimbursable model for pharmacy services.