Parkview Health is making moves to pull pharmacists from the outskirts of patient care into the integral care team of patients in the areas of infectious disease and rheumatology.

As many patients require complicated and oftentimes expensive medication therapies, Parkview wants to make treatment more accessible through its new specialty pharmacy program. Pharmacists and pharmacy liaisons will be on hand for certain care teams to offer medication help including how to properly take the medication and how to manage side-effects.

This would also allow the pharmacy to weigh in on potential treatment and medication changes and how those will affect a patient.

“The Specialty Pharmacy service will further Parkview Health’s vision to tailor personalized health journeys for patients,” Dr. Thomas Bond, chief medical officer for Parkview Physicians Group, said in a statement. “…By embedding pharmacists and pharmacy liaisons directly into our clinics, we’re providing a localized, high-touch experience and creating truly patient-centered care.”

The pharmacists and its liaisons will also help people navigate the payment of these medications by finding programs and strategies to make care affordable.

“We created the Specialty Pharmacy program because we know patients who use specialty medications need far more than a place to fill their prescriptions,” Chris Jellison, corporate director of pharmacy at Parkview Health, said in a statement. “They need a team that will help ease the physical, mental and financial burden of managing their medical condition. This team streamlines the patient experience and helps ensure they can follow the treatment plans laid out by their providers.”

The specialty pharmacy program is currently only for the infectious disease and rheumatology clinics, but Parkview advised that it intends to extend to more clinics soon.

Talk about the tough stuff: suicide

September is Suicide Awareness Month and the Bowen Center wants to make sure people know the signs to look out for in a distressed loved one.

Currently, we lose one person in the United States to suicide every 11 minutes. Mental health professionals believe this is preventable with a little community education and awareness.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that suicidal thoughts can start as small, offhand comments about wanting to not be “here” or alive. If left unchecked, the stakes may get higher and include reckless behaviors, drug use, aggression and withdrawal from loved ones and hobbies.

The purchase of weapons, the giving away of personal possessions and saying what could be perceived as “good-byes,” are serious signs that should be reported immediately to 911 or a health care provider.

Family members cannot care for a suicidal person all on their own, so the Bowen Center and NAMI encourage everyone to learn about different ways to support their loved ones having a hard time. Open and honest conversation about mental illness and getting help for those illnesses can be a strong first step.

There are also hotlines and supports groups out there to provide even more help for people considering suicide or their families.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 800-273-TALK (8255).

Parkview wins grant for MAT expansion

Parkview Behavioral Health has received $725,000 through the Health and Human Services’ Rural Communities Opioid Response program.

The funding will be used according to Parkview’s statement, to establish more clinics that provide medication assisted treatment to people living with opioid or substance use disorder.

“Access to treatment and recovery programs is vital for anyone who struggles with substance abuse disorder,” Connie Kerrigan, director of community outreach for Parkview Behavioral Health, said in a statement. “The clinical and social services community in northeast Indiana is united in its focus to provide additional drug prevention and treatment programs, including MAT. We look forward to working with our partners in each county to help rural residents overcome addiction.”

Expansion from this grant money will begin in Whitley, Wabash and Huntington counties.

So long, St. Joseph

Alas, the old has fallen to make room for the new.

On Aug. 29, the St. Joseph Hospital imaging building on Main and Van Buren streets was demolished in the next step toward the incoming Lutheran Downtown Hospital.

Ground broke on the construction of Lutheran Downtown in July and is expected to be completed in 2021, serving patients shortly after in 2022.

Chelsea Boulrisse is an experienced reporter who primarily covers health care and the medical device industry. You can send information for her weekly column to cboulrisse@kpcmedia.com or call 260-426-2640, ext. 3307.

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