|Member Snapshot: Robert Warnock|
Make Sure Your Voice is Heard
The Consultant Pharmacist publishes occasional snapshots of members who have interesting practices or businesses or are involved in unusual projects or research. All pharmacists were asked to provide answers to several questions. This was originally published in the August 2017 issue of The Consultant Pharmacist.
Robert Warnock DPh, CGP, FASCP, is senior vice president of pharmacy Services, PruittHealth. He calls on pharmacists not to take a diminished role; instead they should make their voices heard because they are the drug experts and the lives of patients depend on them.
Tell us about yourself and your business/ consulting practice
I am currently senior vice president of pharmacy services for PruittHealth, overseeing all of its pharmacy businesses. This includes five long-term care pharmacies in three states (Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina), a clinical/consultant pharmacist’s business with approximately 35 consultants, an infusion/specialty pharmacy for home infusion, and a mail order pharmacy for our 16,000 employees. We employ more than 100 pharmacists and 350 total pharmacy employees. We currently service approximately 15,000 patients in a wide variety of settings: skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, hospice, home care, child behavioral centers, Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), and programs for individuals with special needs.
What have the highlights and challenges been over the years?
The highlights have clearly been the ability to go to work every day knowing we make a difference in the lives of one of the frailest groups of individuals in the country. I find it very rewarding that our work helps make the lives of our patients better every day. Without the dedicated hard work of long-term care pharmacists, in all settings, our patients’ lives would be less rewarding. The medications and guidance we provide help to keep these patients as healthy and comfortable as possible. I have been able to meet some incredible health care workers and patients in my career, and that helps give me comfort that care can and is being properly provided in many locations.
I think the continued changes and growth of federal regulations and the lack of pharmacy reimbursement have been the greatest challenges. How do we assure proper care for a population of patients who are becoming sicker every day while being provided fewer resources by payers? This has been a great balancing act and one that requires that we continue to become more and more creative and efficient. I am proud to say that in no setting where I have practiced have financial pressures trumped decisions about patient care. I have been lucky enough to work with companies that always maintained a “patient care first” attitude, which has been very comforting throughout my career.
What advice can you offer other consultant pharmacists?
To other consultant pharmacists I would say, “You have a tremendous opportunity to make a difference in your career. You know more about medications than anyone else in the health care system, and others need your expertise to provide optimum care to their patients. Make sure you make the effort to be in the decision-making process in whatever setting you practice. The lives of our patients depend on you, and they deserve your best efforts. Don’t accept a diminished role. You are the drug expert and you should make sure your voice is heard as you work with your patients. Make sure every day when you go home you can say the lives of at least one patient is better because of your efforts. If you do, then your career has meaning and you will enjoy success throughout your career.”
What are your hopes for the future of your business/practice?
I hope our profession will continue to grow and improve its businesses/practices; with improved technology, we can reach more patients and provide better care decisions. I think the practice of pharmacy is changing and will eventually result in pharmacists making most or all of their money through providing medication management cognitive services. We should embrace this change, as we are the drug experts, and we should expect to be paid to manage complex patient regimens and help the health care system provide the highest quality care at a reasonable price.