AHEC - North Carolina Area Health Education Centers Program
Touched by an AHEC: Stories from 100 Counties
Bryan Bray

Pharmacist Bryan Bray, co-owner, Medication Management, LLC, and provider for Piedmont Pharmaceutical Care Network, LLC

Guilford County | Greensboro AHEC

Pharmacists Bryan Bray and Cathey Miller, AHEC disease certificate programs

Pharmacists Bryan Bray and Cathey Miller, owners of Medication Management, LLC and providers for Piedmont Pharmaceutical Care Network, LLC, apply the knowledge and expertise gained from AHEC disease certificate programs directly to their medication therapy management practice in Guilford County. The certificate programs are offered through Greensboro AHEC and Northwest AHEC.

“The programs have trained us to become eligible for Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner status - a registration with the medical board that allows an approved pharmacist to become involved with collaborative drug therapy management with a physician,” Bray says. He and Miller are also AHEC preceptors in the UNC School of Pharmacy.

Additionally, the certificate programs also help train and qualify pharmacist providers for Piedmont Pharmaceutical Care Network, which in turn provides disease-specific medication therapy management services on behalf of the network for self-insured employers all throughout North Carolina, modeling after the Asheville Project. The Asheville Project, started as a trial several years ago, matched employees of the city of Asheville who had diabetes in an ongoing relationship with pharmacists with advanced training (certification) by AHEC in disease management. It resulted in improved clinical outcomes and substantial overall costs savings in terms of medical costs. The project has since been replicated throughout the United States.

Both Bray and Miller started taking the certificate courses nine or ten years ago. “Pharmacy practice continues to evolve from a dispensing or product-focused practice to a comprehensive direct patient care-focused practice where pharmacists are more recognized members of the health care team,” he says. The courses have evolved, with lectures on CD-ROM and Internet-based programs helping more pharmacists complete the programs.

Bray and Miller currently hold five certificates apiece: anticoagulation, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and use them daily to monitor patient care. “These are the chronic disease states for which physicians report the most need among their patients and also where most health care dollars are spent,” Bray states.

“AHEC has provided us with support for quality assurance and a mechanism for collecting outcomes data to make sure what we do is beneficial to patients, payers and physicians. In addition to providing me with the tools I need as a Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner to keep my skill set at a level I need to do my job, AHEC has provided the means with which to educate pharmacists all across North Carolina in order to meet the demand for clinical services from the employer groups. If AHEC was not there, it would take away one of my mechanisms for staying trained to do this.”