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Leadership team wins IHS Director’s Award for providing pharmacy support in time of need

June 4, 2019




In partnering with a Tribal health organization in need of support, ANTHC has been honored with the Indian Health Service Director’s Award for helping to improve the quality and delivery of pharmaceutical care services at the Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation (BBAHC).

The ANTHC leadership consultative team that earned the award was headed by Vivian Echavarria, VP of Professional and Support Services, Capt. Kara King, Director of Pharmacy, and Cmdr. Sara Doran-Atchison, Manager Pharmacy Quality Improvement.

According to IHS, the award, “recognizes service significantly advancing the IHS mission and goals through work focused on IHS priorities: People, Partnerships, Quality, and Resources, with particular emphasis on quality improvement activities.” 

The team provides continued support of pharmaceutical services at the Kanakanak Hospital in Dillingham since October 2018. With their help, the hospital was able to provide uninterrupted pharmacy services to the 7,500 patients in the Bristol Bay region.

Over the course of 20 weeks, this team provided the leadership and oversight to:

  • Assist in the hiring of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians and develop their roles and responsibilities; mentor and train pharmacy staff members.
  • Bring the pharmacy into compliance with USP 797 and 800 regulations.
  • Reorganize pharmaceutical stock shelves to become compliant with OSHA and Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services regulations.
  • Implement a proper controlled substance disposal process.
  • Ensure accountability for controlled substances throughout the facility.
  • Educate nursing staff on a myriad of topics.
  • Review, create, and update 30 pharmacy policies and procedures.
  • Coordinate efforts to improve overall communication regarding pharmacy.
  • Oversee enhancements of the crash carts and other emergency kits throughout the facility.
  • Improve pharmaceutical processes within not only the pharmacy department but the entire organization to become safer and more efficient.
  • Complete and provide quality processes of proper storage of medications.
  • Improve medication error reporting process including proper investigation and follow-up to implement/change medication processes when necessary.
  • Organize pharmacy staffing coverage until permanent staff is hired.
  • Improve morale among pharmacy staff.

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