Cookeville Regional obtains specialty pharmacy accreditation

Pictured with the accreditation certificate, in front, is Holly Bullock, senior outpatient pharmacy technician; second row, Taylor Nichols, outpatient pharmacy technician, and Emily McGinness, prior authorization/financial assistance coordinator; third row, Paeton Cravens, prior authorization/financial assistance coordinator; fourth row, Brantley Underwood, outpatient/specialty pharmacy manager and Jill Robbins, prior authorization/financial assistance coordinator; fifth row, Sheldon Hitchcock, interim director of pharmacy and Amy Cravens, clinical pharmacy specialist; and in the back, Gerald Haynes, clinical pharmacist, and Beverly Veit, senior outpatient pharmacy technician.

COOKEVILLE — Patients who have diseases that require specialty medicine will be able to receive it locally now that Cookeville Regional Medical Center’s pharmacy has earned specialty pharmacy accreditation.

Diseases treated by specialty pharmacy include cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, multiple sclerosis and other anti-inflammatory diseases.

“We are the only specialty pharmacy in the region,” said Brantley Underwood, Cookeville Regional’s outpatient/specialty pharmacy manager.

The closest one is hours away in Nashville.

The accreditation process began in the summer of 2021 and took around 18 months to complete.

“This is the same accreditation that national mailer companies also go through,” Underwood said.

The accreditation is good for three years.

“Specialty pharmacy medications are used to treat specific complex health problems and because they aren’t used by very many people, local pharmacies don’t keep these types of medication in stock,” said Buffy Key, Cookeville Regional’s chief operating officer. “By bringing this accredited service on board, the patient – inpatient or outpatient – does not have to experience any delays in receiving the medications they need, right here at home.”

Before this service, patients had to wait to receive the medication or travel to Nashville, Knoxville or Chattanooga to get it.

“By bringing this service here to Cookeville Regional, we are able to provide this special handling by our own pharmacists and take all the delays out of the process, which will provide better patient-focused care for our community,” Key said.

With this accreditation, the number of technicians has doubled, and more coordinators were added.

Hopefully, by the end of the year, the outpatient and specialty pharmacy will be in a new space – with a drive-thru pick up option.

“Great things are happening here at Cookeville Regional,” said Paul Korth, Cookeville Regional CEO. “Being the only specialty pharmacy between Nashville and Knoxville will help so many patients receive their needed medicine quicker.”

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