Toni McDonald: Leading with Care
What does your department do and how does it impact those we serve at a local level?
My team is responsible for operations and making sure we get the right medication to the right patient at the right time. At a local level, our impact centers on very personal relationships with our customers. We’re always a resource for them to partner with. When they have a question, a request, or a challenge to solve, they can reach out to us and access real people – not a voicemail or a recording. And we know them, their organization, and how their teams work. This boots on the ground approach is key to who we are and the long-term care pharmacy services we provide. In fact, most of my clients have my personal cell phone number. They know they can call me, and I’ll be there when they need my help.
On a national level, we’re fortunate to have cutting-edge resources to back up our comprehensive pharmacy services. This treasure trove of tools, programs, and materials created by experts in the field is so important for our customers. They get the confidence that they are using proven resources developed specifically for long-term care, and they can focus on what they do best – providing quality, patient-centered care for their residents.
What makes PharMerica unique?
I think we’re unique because we’re very personal, relationship-driven, and nimble. We provide a level of care and personal responsibility that no one else does. During the past year and a half, we saw how essential all these elements are to the resiliency needed to navigate a crisis. We were there for our clients throughout these challenging times, and they can be confident that we will always be there for them. We are proud of that.
Describe how your team collaborates with clinical and operational staff to best serve clients.
Our relationship with the clinical team is very close, and we work together to provide the best possible pharmacy services. Each discipline involved supplies a key component to our relationship with our customers to ensure they have what they need. That collaborative approach makes everything run more smoothly.
What 3 things set PharMerica apart?
First of all, we’re supportive. When a customer calls with a question or issue, they talk to a real person and get what they need promptly. They never have to wait days or even hours.
Next, we’re proactive. We reach out to our customers on a regular basis to see how they’re doing and how we can further help them. Many times, we’re being educated on pertinent topics in the industry before they’re common knowledge, so when a customer reaches out to us with questions, we’re ready and can help them out on a moment’s notice. They also have 24/7 access to Illuminate, our in-depth, interactive education and thought leadership platform, to keep them current on hot issues and the latest industry and clinical updates.
Finally, we are very committed to our customers. We’re not just a vendor or senior care pharmacy provider. We are a partner and a friend. We evaluate our success by how effective, productive, and satisfied our customers are and how our services help them care for their residents.
What makes you excited to come to work every day?
Every day I wake up, I’m proud to know that our customers and clients will be provided exceptional care. It’s so satisfying to go to work and be confident that I’m helping to make a positive difference in the lives of our nation’s older adults and the people who care for them. Whether we’re addressing specialty pharmacy issues, cost containment concerns, or behavioral healthcare services, we do it with knowledge, energy, and passion.
How would you describe the value of our clinical programs?
I think they’re second to none. No other pharmacy services provider executes like our clinical team does. And what makes them even more valuable is that they’re readily accessible. Our clients know their Consultant Pharmacist or Nurse Consultant personally, so they know who to go to when they need something.
Do you visit your local customers at skilled nursing facilities regularly?
I’m in each facility at least once a quarter. I also go to almost all quarterly business reviews (QBRs), which are so important – not only for the customer, but also for us. We’re able to see how they’re doing financially and/or where they need us to step in and serve as a clinical resource. We also can explain, for example, why a patient may have received one medication instead of another. These meetings also serve as opportunities for facilities to make changes such as accessing resources through ViewMasteRx that can help them enhance their outcomes.
How do your educational programs help with staffing challenges?
Like everyone in long-term care, workforce issues are on our customers’ minds, so they’re a concern for us, too. We help by providing them with resources that streamline their processes and free staff from paperwork and other time-consuming tasks so they can focus on resident care. At the same time, Illuminate offers an array of educational programs and materials that keep staff informed and engaged and gives them the confidence to do their jobs effectively.
What do you want us to know about your teams that report to you?
I want everyone to know that my teams are caring and committed. The have shown up every day through COVID and never missed a beat. Their focus is to make sure our medications get out accurately, consistently and on time to our residents – no matter the circumstances – whether it’s COVID, a hurricane or other natural disaster, or something else.