The partnership expands health care in Union County

Pharmacy professor Adam Pate (left) examines a chart at NMHS New Albany Medical Clinic with pharmacy student Carlie Stanford, of Fulton. The partnership between the university and NMHS helps provide better healthcare to patients and provides opportunities for Ole Miss pharmacy students. Photo by Bill Dabney / UM Foundation

OXFORD, Miss. – A partnership between North Mississippi Health Services and the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy is offering patients in a rural clinic a higher level of health care, while extending the decade-long relationship between NMHS and Ole Miss.

NMHS’s Tupelo-based agreement with the School of Pharmacy allows Adam Pate, UM’s Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Practice, to work with patients two days a week as an outpatient pharmacist at NMHS New Albany Medical Clinic in New Albany.

Pate’s work at the clinic offers an extra touch beyond the care provided by the two staff doctors and a nurse to approximately 70 patients a day. The pharmacist is often able to obtain detailed information on patients’ needs through follow-up calls and clinic visits that they otherwise would not have the resources to make.

Listen a lot.

“Through my simple listening to patients, I can often identify problems they might be having,” Pate said. “A lot of those recently have been food insecurity and drug supply.

“I recently had a patient who skipped meals every day because her daughter was unable to provide them and I said to her, ‘You know we have social workers who can provide you with meals on wheels.’ So, there are many such things that we are able to put into this chronic care management umbrella. “

Often when patients are concerned or confused about their medications, Pate is also able to help.

“Sometimes I have to explain to doctors, ‘Even if the patient didn’t say this on his last visit, they are really worried about this drug you just started and are nervous to tell you,'” he said.

“But they were willing to tell me their concerns over the phone in confidence and I can reassure them that I will work with their supplier and that we can easily switch their prescription to a similar drug without any problems.”

Pate also helps patients enroll in medical assistance programs that help fixed-income retirees afford expensive brand-name drugs often at no cost to the patient; assists physicians with complex patients in need of chronic care management; interacts with patients during their annual wellness visits, confirms patient adherence to their medications and vaccinations, and conducts telemedicine by visiting patients over the phone.

“I tell the patients that I’m like the person at the hotel reception,” Pate said. “You know, if you forget your toothbrush, get out and we’ll find out. This kind of personal interaction is what we try to do and it works really well for patients in general. “

Pate has been an asset to the clinic, said Wes Pitts, a Mantachie UM pharmacy graduate who serves as the pharmacy system director for NMHS and the pharmacy director at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo.

“Adam was really able to demonstrate the impact of a pharmacist in a clinical setting, and it’s something we’ve been able to replicate in other areas,” Pitts said. “He did a great job of demonstrating the value a pharmacist can add.”

The NMHS partnership with the School of Pharmacy is beneficial to both organizations, Pitts said.

“Ole Miss is always at the forefront of learning,” she said. “Likewise, we are also at the forefront of innovations. So that collaboration, putting these two actions together, really helps us achieve more.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Ole Miss because the relationship truly stimulates growth, which is beneficial for the healthcare system. But I think it’s even more beneficial to our patients and the communities we serve ”.

The partnership also benefits UM pharmacy students.

“We are extremely grateful to North Mississippi Health Services for imagining the benefits of partnering with us all those years ago,” said Donna Strum, director of UM pharmacy. “Their continued support has opened doors for our students and created opportunities for their growth: extraordinary opportunities face-to-face with patients that give them early experience in their chosen profession.”

NMHS has a 1 year postgraduate pharmacy residency program accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Pate serves the program as an instructor.

“We have four residents a year who rotate with him at different sites,” Pitts said. “They have gained good experience and have been able to do some innovative things through Adam’s practice that we have been able to replicate in some of our other clinics, particularly in relation to annual wellness visits and chronic care management. “.

Additionally, the partnership can help students find a job after graduation. Many of NMHS residents have been offered full-time jobs with the company, which serves 24 counties in northern Mississippi and northwest Alabama.

“Thanks to their on-site training, they are familiar with our structures and processes and we are able to incorporate them as long as we have positions available,” said Pitts. “We definitely like to keep those we have trained and reap the rewards of their education.”

The university strives to be an asset and partner to the industry through mutually beneficial relationships. To learn more about the university’s Industry Engagement Initiative, contact Hughes Miller, Director of Industry Engagement, at [email protected] and 662-915-2885 or visit .

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