TRU PACE, a program of TRU Community Care, is located in Lafayette, CO, and serves participants in Boulder and Southwest Weld Counties. TRU PACE opened its doors on March 1, 2017, and coordinates and provides all necessary preventive, primary, acute, and long-term care services enabling older individuals to continue living safely in their communities. The center has a staff of approximately 40 employees and a census of 129 participants.
TRU PACE’s Medical Director, Shirley Huang, MD, was involved with TRU Community Care prior to their PACE program’s inception, and assisted with selecting providers, a pharmacy, and an Electronic Health Record platform. Her extensive background in geriatrics and hospice provided valuable insight into working with contracted facility pharmacies and large hospice pharmacy providers. When searching for a pharmacy provider, she looked “for something beyond the standard.” A geriatric pharmacy was a strong requirement.
The TRU PACE team consulted with medical staff from two PACE centers in neighboring states; both groups recommended CareKinesis pharmacy. The TRU PACE team visited both centers several times and saw CareKinesis in action. “The expertise of (CareKinesis’s) Geriatric Certified Pharmacists makes a huge difference,” Huang says. “The caliber of pharmacist is just different, and we get not just one geriatric certified pharmacist, but a whole team.”
TRU PACE is unique in that polypharmacy and medication reviews are performed during the participant’s first center visit. A pathway of goals is established, focusing on longevity, function, or palliative care, so that each participant knows what to expect. The Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) use the EireneRx reports as well as pharmacogenomic (PGx) testing in care planning to objectively predict outcomes, measure patient progress, and update risks, vital for a program that performs medication reviews on a monthly basis.
Two years later, Huang reports that she values the working relationship that CareKinesis pharmacists have fostered with the IDT. “I know our pharmacists by voice,” she says. She appreciates their professionalism, as well. “The transparency is nice when it comes to medication pricing, weighing costs and dosages with CareKinesis pharmacists, or when requesting something that requires compounding, ordering supplements, or herbs.”
TRU PACE has also taken advantage of CareKinesis’s PGx testing services. Huang orders PGx testing for participants who have several drug allergies or reactions, or are prescribed multiple medications. She believes that the testing is appealing to potential participants. She recalls discussing the benefits of PGx testing with a prospective TRU PACE participant. “Upon enrollment the first thing she asked about was when she could have her PGx testing done,” she says. “It’s a great selling point regarding the level of personalization that PACE participants can receive.”
Huang has recommended CareKinesis to other PACE start-ups and operating programs in several other states. She applauds CareKinesis for not only integrating PGx testing and its PrecisionPrescribing™ program into their pharmacy services, but their ability to explain such a complex concept in a simple manner. “It’s a different way to practice,” Huang states. “It’s reinventing the way you think about prescribing.”