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Community Collaboration Brings Synergy to Health Care

Young doctor reassuring aged patient, selective focus

Updated July 2021

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.

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!

Post-COVID-19 Pandemic Update

Contacts at Kelley-Ross and Bellwether Housing have changed; however, the Senior Drug Education program has expanded to eight senior housing buildings in Seattle-King County, including Bellwether, Catholic Community Services of Western Washington, Community Roots Housing (formerly Capitol Hill Housing), King County Housing Authority, and Plymouth Housing.

Though the one-on-one in-person sessions with the pharmacists were not possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, the pharmacists continued outreach to existing clients and accepted new referrals from the housing providers. Additionally, because the residents at these buildings knew about Kelley-Ross and the Senior Drug Education Program, Kelley-Ross collaborated with Public Health—Seattle & King County to offer building-based COVID-19 vaccine clinics. Last but not least, Kelley-Ross offered vaccine information to Aging and Disability Services case management program staff.


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.