The “patients we serve”: APhA Foundation presents annual Pinnacle Awards

Recipients are John Sykora, HealthPartners MTM Program, Community Pharmacy Foundation

The APhA Foundation’s 20th annual Pinnacle Awards reception and program were presented September 18, 2017, at APhA headquarters in Washington, DC. John Sykora, BSPharm, MBA, executive experiential education liaison for Chapman University in Irvine, CA—who pioneered the appointment-based model in his pharmacy practice as owner of Abrams & Clark Pharmacy in Long Beach, CA—received the Individual Award for Career Achievement.

The Group Practice–Health System–Corporation Award was accepted for HealthPartners: Medication Therapy Management (MTM) Program by Daniel Rehrauer, PharmD, senior manager of the MTM program there. And the Government Agency–Nonprofit Organization–Association Award was accepted for the Community Pharmacy Foundation (CPF) by CPF Executive Director Anne Marie Kondic, PharmD.

Established in 1998, the Pinnacle Awards program recognizes the significant contributions pharmacists make to health care quality through the medication use process. Recipients in three categories each receive a crystal eagle statuette to signify their accomplishment.

In her welcoming remarks, Elizabeth Keyes, RPh, APhA Foundation Executive Director and APhA Chief Operating Officer, referred to the awards program’s history with more than 50 individual and group recipients. APhA President Nancy Alvarez, PharmD, FAPhA, congratulated this year’s recipients, advocated for improved patient access to pharmacists’ patient care services, and remarked that “this wonderful evening of recognition” was to celebrate these “three great success stories.”

APhA Foundation President Leonard Edloe, MDiv, PharmD, was the lead presenter of the Pinnacle Awards and emcee for the ceremony. For each recipient, a short video about them preceded the presentation of the crystal eagle and their remarks.

Sykora—called the “Father of the Appointment-Based Model”—began developing one of his most impactful patient-centered ideas in the 1990s, according to his video. This proactive method synchronized the delivery of patient medications with the delivery of patient-focused care. His appointment-based model has been adopted by more than 22,000 community pharmacies across the country, and is being explored in Canada and Europe as well.

In his remarks, Sykora thanked his wife, Carol. About the appointment-based model, he noted: “There’s no losers in this business model.” He said in the future, success will be measured “in the number of patients we serve, not the number of prescriptions we fill.”

The Minnesota-based HealthPartners MTM Program is an integrated health organization that provides care delivery and health plans functions through a network of community and clinic-based pharmacists, according to its video. The largest consumer-governed nonprofit health care organization in the country, with nearly 900,000 members across all 50 states now, HealthPartners began in 2006 and is unique in that it integrates insurance and care delivery. All providers are able to share data and work together as a team to achieve patient care goals.

“Everything we do is related to the triple aim,” Rehrauer said in his remarks. He spoke of “proving the value a pharmacist can provide when integrated with a patient’s care,” and said HealthPartners has the data to show its work positively affects patient experience, outcomes, and cost of care.

The Community Pharmacy Foundation (CPF), a national nonprofit, provides grants and funding for special projects and studies directly associated with community pharmacy practice and the advancement of patient care services by pharmacists, according to its video. Since it began grant funding in 2002, CPF has supported 172 grants totaling nearly $8 million.

CPF will continue to fund grants are “replicable”—able to be implemented in other community pharmacies; “transferable”—that the materials from one grant are sharable and usable by anyone; and financially “sustainable,” Kondic explained in the video and in her remarks.  

Administered by the APhA Foundation, the Pinnacle Awards were provided premier support by an independent grant from Merck and additional support by an educational donation from Amgen.

On September 19, Rehrauer was the featured guest speaker at the Pinnacle Awards Innovations in Pharmacy Practice Lecture held at APhA headquarters. His lecture, From Medicare to Coverage for All: The Evolution of an MTM Program Over a Decade, showcased the Health Partners MTM program.