Kansas City CARE Clinic, the Power of FQHC Pharmacy

Kansas City CARE Clinic, the Power of FQHC Pharmacy

This is part of ScriptPro’s In the Field series, which highlights ScriptPro customers engaging in unique programs that positively impact their local communities.

ScriptPro Customer FQHC Kansas City CARE Clinic
ScriptPro Customer Kansas City CARE Clinic opened a pharmacy in 2016 to further meet patients’ needs.

For nearly 50 years, the Kansas City CARE Clinic has been a cornerstone of providing vital access to medical care to the underserved in the Kansas City community. The Clinic is a private, nonprofit Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) with three locations – the most recent one opened its doors in April 2017 in the city’s historic Northeast Neighborhood.

As a foremost safety net provider, KC CARE serves 12,000 patients and offers a full range of in-house services that include primary medical care for adults and children, HIV care, dental, behavioral health, and pharmacy. Robust support services include case management, continuum care, screening, and education.

An exciting area of change for KC CARE came in late 2015 when the Clinic determined that bringing pharmacy services in-house as part of their offerings to patients was a top priority.

New Pharmacy at FQHC Improves Access to Care

Kamile Johnson, PharmD, AAHIVP, Director of Pharmacy Services, came onboard to spearhead getting a pharmacy up and running. “The Clinic approached me and asked if I would come out and open a pharmacy for them. They recognized the importance of being able to offer a Pharmacy Services Program, because many of our patients are uninsured, with limited access to getting prescriptions filled elsewhere.”

Johnson notes, “Another thing that really bolstered the viability of opening a pharmacy was that the Clinic had just achieved status as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), making us eligible for 340B medications.”

Dr. Kamile Johnson, KC CARE
Kamile Johnson, PharmD, AAHIVP, Director of Pharmacy Services at KC CARE

With the opportunity to start filling 340B prescriptions for its patient population,  KC CARE relied on Johnson to detail what was needed to get an outpatient pharmacy up and running. The Clinic received its pharmacy license in March 2016 and officially opened the pharmacy doors that September.

Pharmacy Services Program Empowers Growth

With less than a year of operations under its belt, KC CARE’s Pharmacy Services Program is already making a powerful difference.

According to Johnson, “The 340B program has been excellent for us! The savings we generate, of course, must go back into the Clinic. It’s great because it enabled us to hire another pharmacist and another technician – we now provide a growing list of pharmacy services, such as vaccines. Also, we plan to extend our hours into evenings and weekends to increase access to care when our patients most need it.”

Achieving Better Patient Outcomes

When it comes to noticeable improvements in prescription adherence, Johnson states, “We’re in the process of monitoring that right now. Since we’re in the Clinic, we have access to patient health records electronically, which will allow us to match outcomes. As an FQHC, and a patient-centered medical home, there are certain outcomes we’re already required to measure, like hypertensive measures, diabetes, etc. Over time, we’ll be able to look at our patients’ numbers compared to our patients’ compliance. I’m really excited to see these statistics as they develop, because it’s clear that now having a Pharmacy Services Program is making an impact.”

Heather Buehrer, PharmD, Staff Pharmacist at KC CARE
Heather Buehrer, PharmD, Staff Pharmacist at KC CARE

KC CARE goes above and beyond, having dedicated half a century to those in the community most at risk. Once a free health clinic, it started accepting insurance in 2014 to meet the growing needs of an increasingly diverse patient base. The Clinic is the medical home to everyone from the uninsured to the under-insured, such as small business owners and hourly wage earners, as well as those fully insured through private companies.

The pharmacy is able to offer a patient assistant program, which is a time-consuming yet vital service offering. It assists around 3,000 patients a year, fully managing a patient’s prescription protocol, tirelessly working to get very expensive brand name medications – that are still expensive even through 340B – at reduced costs, and even storing prescriptions for patients who have no home address.

The Future is Good for FQHC Pharmacy

Having always been ahead of its time, it comes as no surprise that KC CARE is focused on the future. The pharmacy already has plans to create a dedicated immunization and consultation room. The organization is also looking to round out their current pharmacy automation, which includes an SP 200 Robot, SP Central Pharmacy Management System, and ScriptPro’s 340B Management Package, with TPMS, ScriptPro’s third party reconciliation solution.

Johnson happily states, “We just looked at the script data and we’re doing about 1,000 prescriptions a month. It’s not a lot, as I know others are doing a 1,000 a day, but if you look at the number of practitioners we have, our hours, our location – I mean, it hasn’t even been a year!

“The feedback has been really good, by just having us here. I can tell you that everyone sees the value we add. Being able to funnel savings back into the organization to do even more in our community is incredibly rewarding.”

About the Kansas City CARE Clinic: The Kansas City CARE Clinic (formerly the Kansas City Free Health Clinic) is one of the oldest and largest charitable care

Carlotta Porter, CPhT, at KC CARE
Carlotta Porter, CPhT, at KC CARE

clinics in the nation. Founded in 1971, the Clinic provides Care, Access, Research, & Education for the under-served and all people in the Kansas City community. The Kansas City CARE Clinic’s clinical services include adult general primary care, HIV primary care, pediatric care, oral healthcare, and behavioral health services which are enhanced by supportive services such as case management, care coordination, and community screenings and health education. In 2016, the Clinic opened a pharmacy at its Broadway location. With a staff of over 170 and more than 700 dedicated volunteers, the Clinic provides healthcare, education, and support for 12,000 individuals through more than 13,000 clinical patient appointments and nearly 56,000 case management, education, prevention, and testing encounters. The mission of the Kansas City CARE Clinic is to promote health and wellness by providing quality care, access, research, and education to the under-served and all people in our community.