VCU School of Pharmacy Named Partner in $4.1 Million Grant to Improve Rural Patient Health
Director of Public Relations and Communications
School of Pharmacy
University Public Affairs
The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy will participate in a three-year, $4.1 million grant project that will fund a medication management program in 23 rural Virginia counties.
The grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation will be administered by the School of Pharmacy in partnership with Carilion New River Valley Medical Center in Christiansburg, Aetna Healthcare and CVS/Caremark.
The goal of the program, which is called Improving Health for At-Risk Rural Patients project (IHARP), is to improve medication therapy and chronic disease state management, ultimately improving health and reducing hospitalizations, emergency room visits and adverse drug events in patients with multiple chronic diseases.
“We truly believe this project can make a difference, both in quality and cost of care,” said John Piatkowski, Carilion Clinic vice president and CEO of Carilion New River Valley. “As physicians, we can manage patients’ medications when they are hospitalized, but after they leave, mistakes or failure to take medicines as required can result in serious consequences, unnecessary hospitalizations and worsening chronic conditions.”
Gary Matzke, VCU School of Pharmacy’s associate dean for clinical research and public policy, is co-principal investigator on the project with William Lee, director of pharmaceutical services for Carilion New River Valley and the Carilion Western Region hospitals.
Together they will be responsible for project initiation, direction, hiring and overseeing the training of staff as well as monitoring and reporting the results.
“This is a major step toward a new interprofessional health care model for rural Americans,” said Matzke. “As an education institution, we are pleased to partner with Carilion on its design and implementation.”
Matzke will oversee the development of patient-education literature on better control of chronic disease, and the transformative educational preparation of the hospital and primary care pharmacists will be provided through collaboration with the Canadian Pharmacists Association.
Leticia Moczygemba, assistant professor of pharmacy at VCU, will lead the data analysis, program evaluation and assessment of the clinical, humanistic and economic outcomes as well as patient and health care provider satisfaction.
Jeffrey Delafuente, associate dean for academic affairs in the VCU School of Pharmacy, and Patty Slattum, professor of pharmacy at VCU, will create and deliver the community pharmacist educational workforce development program that will equip these pharmacists with the skills needed to provide a consistently high level of patient care.