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Samford University pharmacy school gets CMS nursing home grant


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A pharmacy school in Alabama is getting a grant for a program designed to reduce hospitalizations among nursing home residents.

Samford University announced that its McWhorter School of Pharmacy would receive $865,568 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to improve quality of care among Medicare-Medicaid dual enrollees in the state's 23 nursing homes, part of a program led by the Alabama Quality Assurance Foundation. The AQAF is one of seven organizations around the country working with the CMS to improve care quality at 145 nursing homes around the country.

In Alabama, the Samford University pharmacy school and nine other health care-related partners will provide enhanced, on-site services and support for nursing home residents, which are in 14 counties in the central and north-central regions of the state. The services include evidence-based decision support and education for healthcare providers on rational use of medications from pharmacists at the university's Global Drug Information Service.

"The pharmacists will implement quality improvement projects to reduce the risk of adverse events and avoidable hospitalizations related to use of high-risk medications," GDIS director Maisha Kelly Freeman said. "They will also provide continuing education seminars on the appropriate use of medications, facilitate training sessions with nursing personnel and evaluate the success of the education initiative."

Most nursing home residents are enrolled in Medicare, and nearly two-thirds are enrolled in Medicaid. According to research, about 45% of hospitalizations among dual enrollees, costing about $7-8 billion in 2011, could be avoided.

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