Pharmacy Focus this quarter is on the Mann-Grandstaff Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) Pharmacy, in Spokane. It is named after two local Veterans who sacrificed their lives for their country and each received the Congressional Medal of Honor.
The Mann-Grandstaff VAMC Pharmacy Services supports the mission of the Veterans Health Administration by providing accurate, cost-effective, efficient, and safe pharmaceutical care to each Veteran served. Its core values are expressed through the acronym, “ICARE,” which stands for Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence. These core values guide employees’ actions on a daily basis to ensure they are providing the best care anywhere to Veterans by:
- Integrating the concept of pharmaceutical care into all phases of the pharmacy practice aimed at improving employee engagement and Veteran experience.
- Employing a systems-thinking approach to continuously improve processes and behaviors aimed at increasing value and developing best practices.
- Increasing patient educational efforts, particularly as they relate to medication related outcomes.
- Providing clinical pharmacy support to fulfill National VA PBM Formulary compliance and optimize outcomes with medications.
- Being good stewards of limited organizational resources and operating cost-effectively within the allocated medical center budget.
- Providing timely service for prescriptions filled at the pharmacy.
- Using clinical pharmacy specialists who practice at the top of their license to manage chronic diseases in primary care and specialized care for behavioral health.
A group of WSU student pharmacists on a tour at the VA Medical Center with Dr. Sunil Wadhwani (third from right)
Cheyenne Newsome, PharmD, BCACP, Administrative Residency Director; Sunil Wadhwani, MS, PharmD, Chief of Pharmacy; and Travis Sonnett, PharmD, Residency Director
Photo of the VAMC Main Hospital Building
The Mann-Grandstaff VAMC pharmacy department is composed of about 30 pharmacists and 23 pharmacy technicians. The pharmacy operates a full service outpatient department dispensing prescriptions and counseling patients. They also have an inpatient department providing unit dose and IV services. Inpatient pharmacist coverage after hours is provided through a remote link to Puget Sound VAMC. During after hours, inpatient medication services are provided through fully stocked Omnicell machines and ward stock. In addition, the pharmacy provides clinical pharmacy specialist services to the primary care and specialty clinics during regular business hours, assisting providers in the treatment of anticoagulation, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, tobacco cessation, and in formulary management.
The Mann-Grandstaff VAMC serves as a rotation site to students for six different advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs). Two of these rotations are ambulatory care, one in the primary care setting and the other in long-term-care/hospice. There are also rotations in acute care, community pharmacy, management, and (new for the 2018-2019 cycle) urgent care.
The Mann-Grandstaff VAMC has been providing an ASHP accredited PGY1 Pharmacy Residency Program for the past six years. Each year the Mann-Grandstaff VAMC receives applications from candidates all over the United States. A pharmacy team conducts interviews and chooses only two residents from a pool of highly qualified candidates. An ideal candidate for this position should possess not only a strong academic record, but also leadership abilities, a commitment to community, and good emotional intelligence. In other words, pharmacy residents are hired for their attitude and trained to develop their skills. Residents can get experience in outpatient, inpatient, clinical, administration, and long-term/palliative care. They also have the opportunity to select electives in infectious diseases, behavioral health, home-based primary care, and academia. Interested applicants must participate in the ASHP Residency Matching Program (The Match) and the Pharmacy Online Residency Centralized Application Service (PhORCAS).
The Mann-Grandstaff VAMC allows pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to practice at an advanced level to contribute to excellent patient care. Pharmacists at the Spokane VAMC have the highest “All Employee Satisfaction Scores” for the last two consecutive years. As a team member in the VAMC, it is important to have strong communication skills, emotional intelligence, and the ability to build long-lasting relationships.