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Community Collaboration Brings Synergy to Health Care

Young doctor reassuring aged patient, selective focus

Synergy occurs when increased effectiveness results from two or more people or organizations working together.

In 2015, Aging and Disability Services (the Area Agency on Aging for King County), Bellwether Housing, and Kelley-Ross Pharmacy Group launched a new pilot on medication management. This offered a great opportunity to identify synergies between the Area Agency, a housing provider, and a community pharmacy. The consultations, education, and support that the pharmacists were able to provide to residents was remarkable.

Following are testimonials to this synergy from Josh Akers, Kelley-Ross Pharmacy manager and residency director, and Ray Padilla, Bellwether Housing resident services manager.

Josh Akers, PharmD, BCACP, Kelley-Ross Pharmacy

kelley-rossKelley-Ross has been Seattle’s resource for innovative pharmacy services since 1925. One such service is our in-home medication coaching, a concierge-style approach to patient care that places our pharmacists directly into the community. We work directly with people in their own setting to assess their strengths and weaknesses, and develop innovative solutions for their medicine- and health-related problems. Partnering with medical providers, nursing staff, and case managers, we turn chaos into order.

We are honored to collaborate on this pilot with ADS and Bellwether Housing. Our pharmacists have led large group education classes for Bellwether residents on topics such as medicines, blood pressure, and pain to help them take control of their health and their care.

We also meet one-on-one with the residents where we identify and resolve each individual’s own drug-related problems and obstacles preventing them from achieving their health goals. Thus far we have had over 60 interactions with Bellwether residents. Here are just a few examples of how we have helped the residents take control of their medicines and their health:

  • Moved the timing of a resident’s blood pressure medicine to bedtime to prevent dizziness.
  • Developed a reminder system to help a resident remember to take her medicine to prevent blood clots every day.
  • Coached a resident through the process of getting a new meter to test her blood sugar.
  • Helped a resident synchronize her medicine refills so she only has to make one visit to the pharmacy per month.

The success of this pilot is a direct result of the synergy between each of our organizations. Our pharmacists would not be able to provide such high quality care without the efforts of the Bellwether Resident Services Coordinators. They advertise and capture the residents’ interest, help maintain the appointment schedule for residents, and educate our pharmacists on the resources available for residents in the local community.

Ray Padilla, Bellwether Housing

bellwetherBellwether Housing serves over 3,200 residents in the Seattle area. Within our portfolio we also have over 300 residents who reside in our HUD senior buildings. Many of these households depend financially on Social Security and maybe a pension. Also, many of our residents are challenged daily with health, mobility, hygiene, cooking, and other activities that impact their wellbeing and independence. As a result, Bellwether strives to promote and bring a variety of programming to our residents.

A challenge for our senior and disabled resident population is health care. By offering programming on site, residents have a choice to pursue community resources as needed. Therefore, our partnership with Aging and Disability Services, Seattle King County Area Agency on Aging, and Kelley-Ross Pharmacy Group is a great example of valuable programming for residents.

The Medical Management Program enables the resident to receive one-on-one support and strategies that will help them manage their medications and health situation. Without this program, many of our residents would be at greater risk to mismanage their prescriptions, possibly affecting their overall health.

Bellwether is pleased and honored to work closely with Aging and Disability Services, Seattle King County Area Agency on Aging, and Kelley-Ross Pharmacy.

Rewarding to all involved

The results of the medication management pilot have been rewarding and inspirational to all involved.

In addition to Josh Akers and Ray Padilla, who provided testimonials above, the following people played important roles in the success of the medication management pilot: Jennifer Bacci, PharmD, MPH, Kelley-Ross Pharmacy, also an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy, University of Washington; Cathy Chovan, Samantha Hill, and Leanne Rone, all resident services coordinators at Bellwether Housing; and Terra McCaffree, a senior grants and contracts specialist at Aging and Disability Services.

Leonardo da Vinci once said, “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

Let’s go forth and happen to things. Together, we can make a difference!


Contributor Mary Pat O’Leary, RN, BSN is a planner at Aging and Disability Services, the Area Agency on Aging for King County. She has worked closely with Kelley-Ross Pharmacy Group and Bellwether Housing on the medication management pilot and several other collaborative efforts related to community-based care transitions and reduction of hospital admissions.

Josh Akers, Kelley-Ross Pharmacy, and several colleagues will present on community partnerships with pharmacists that improve medication use and overall care at “Charting a Course to Health,” a care transitions conference on May 17, 2016. For more information, visit



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