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Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System

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GCVHCS transforming pharmacy operations at CBOCS

November 30, 2017

GCVHCS transforming pharmacy operations at community based outpatient clinics in Mobile, Eglin and Panama City

BILOXI, Mississippi –
Officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System (GCVHCS) announced today that pharmacy operations at their three community based outpatient clinics would be transforming into an emergent and mail-based prescription system no later than Sept. 30, 2018.

“The Eglin, Panama City and Mobile CBOCs, like most CBOCs nationwide, are transitioning to a first-fill contract for emergent prescriptions,” said Dr. Chris Saslo, interim GCVHCS director. “This means, Veterans can use Non-VA pharmacies in the community for emergent prescriptions. Maintenance prescriptions will be received from our centralized mail out pharmacy.”

This change will streamline the pharmacy dispensing process to increase patient access to primary care services and no distributive services will remain at the CBOCs. It should be seamless to the Veteran.

“There is no action the Veteran needs to take,” Saslo said. “Their primary care physician will provide full instructions about available processes to fill prescriptions. Many Veterans using the CBOC pharmacies are already using, or are familiar with the process.”

If a Veteran needs a prescription immediately, they will be able to use the first-fill contract pharmacies in the community. The first-fill contract allows Veterans to use a network of retail pharmacies in the community for initial prescriptions that are determined by clinical staff to be emergent (EX – antibiotics).

All other medications will be mailed from Biloxi or from the VA centralized mail out pharmacy, which is the current process. 

“This is an existing program that is being expanded,” Saslo said. “Veterans are being made aware through Town Halls and their Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT). The full implementation will take place over the next few months, and patients will be fully educated, as the process is phased in.”

A pharmacist will always be available at the CBOCs; however, this transformation allows our pharmacists to be able to offer more assistance in the management of chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia, resulting in an increased number of daily appointments.

“We believe this transformation will allow us to provide a much higher level of service for our Veterans,” Saslo said.

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