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Pharmacist Spotlight: Charlie Barnes

“I’ve been a pharmacist for 41 years and through most of that time we’ve been beat up by people believing that all we did was lick, stick, count and pour. Now we have a chance to validate what some community pharmacists have been doing for decades,” said Charlie Barnes. “We can help the high-risk, chronically-ill patients improve their overall health.”

The proverbial lightbulb came on for multi-store pharmacy owner Charles W. Barnes III, RPh, during last year’s Re-engineering Your Pharmacy Practice conference hosted by NCPA. He talked with fellow pharmacist and pharmacy owner Joe Moose, PharmD, and fellow pharmacist David Pope, PharmD, and discovered that when primary care practices leveraged medication use support from community-based pharmacy they could reduce hospital admissions by 45% and re-admissions by 35%.

“I knew right then that the CPESNSM approach to patient care could get my pharmacy paid more for handling these high-risk patients,” exclaimed Barnes.

Charlie has been passionately promoting the CPESN story – specifically that of his home state’s local network (Academy of Independent Pharmacy for the Georgia Pharmacists Association or AIP-GA CPESN for short) – to providers, home health agencies, and payers across the state. He has generated interest from several local payers and received dozens of new high-risk patients from several physicians.

“I love telling people about the impact the CPESN approach has had on patients. When I tell them that we can reduce hospital admissions by 45% their faces just light up,” shared Barnes. “All in all, I would say that the reception I’ve received has been extremely positive.”

“Every physician has “train wreck” patients. The physicians know who they are. When I share the impact of the CPESN method – 45% reduction in hospital admissions, 35% reduction in hospital readmissions, 15% reduction in emergency room visits – you can see them thinking about their most challenging patients. It is an easy decision for these physicians. It is good for the patient. And, it is good for them. There is no downside,” added Barnes.

Barnes conducts weekly meetings with his entire pharmacy staff to cover the importance of taking care of their high-risk patient population. His pharmacy staff uses a scorecard for their patients on medication synchronization and a separate scorecard for their patients on adherence packaging. Barnes tries to share growing trends in pharmacy with his staff, so they can see the bigger picture and want to become more involved. His pharmacy staff is currently running 4 separate pilot programs, one with United Healthcare, to gather and analyze patient data and share the pharmacy's impact with payers, physicians, ACOs and self-insured businesses.

“As pharmacists, we’ve been saying that ‘the industry is changing’ for the past several years. But, I would say that the pharmacy industry has changed more in the past year that it did in my previous 40 years altogether,” Barnes added.

When asked about sharing best practices, Barnes was quick to answer.

“Perfect your elevator speech. Customize it for the different audiences that you’ll meet and practice it on others,” shared Barnes. “Then, get out there and share. The beauty about the CPESN networks is the synergy we’ll achieve with more and more community pharmacists telling our story.”