WASHINGTON – Nearly 250,000 patients served by the Indian Health Service (IHS) have utilized a prescription service available through an interagency agreement between IHS and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Federal partners such as IHS are invaluable in VA’s commitment to collaborating and expanding award-winning services that enhance patient care,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “This agreement reflects VA’s pledge to be an effective steward of Federal resources and ensure that countless Veterans and patients of IHS receive the best health care possible.”
The agreement allows IHS pharmacies to use the VA Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy (CMOP) to process and mail prescription refills for IHS patients. By accessing the service, IHS patients can now have their prescriptions mailed to them, in many cases eliminating the need to pick them up at an IHS pharmacy.
“The use of VA’s CMOP saves IHS patients travel time and wait time at the pharmacy, and allows IHS pharmacists to focus more attention on patient care,” said Kenneth Siehr, Director of the VA CMOP program.
The service provides an alternative method for patients to obtain medication refills when transportation or work schedules make visiting a pharmacy difficult. Due to the agreement, pharmacists have been able to spend more time in clinics interacting with patients and answering questions.
“As a result of our partnership with VA and our use of CMOP, we’ve seen advances in our patient care and satisfaction,” said Randy Grinnell, Deputy Director for IHS.
VA has successfully utilized CMOP since 1994 and currently processes over 111 million prescriptions annually. In 2011, the program earned distinction as a Customer Service Champion from JD Power and Associates.
Eleven IHS sites currently use VA CMOP: Haskell, Kan.; Phoenix; Rapid City, S.D.; Yakima, Wash.; and Claremore, Clinton, El Reno, Lawton, Pawhuska, Pawnee and Watonga in Oklahoma.
VA operates the largest integrated health care system in the country. With a health care budget of more than $50 billion, VA expects to provide care to 6.1 million patients supporting 920,000 hospitalizations and nearly 80 million outpatient visits this year. VA’s health care network includes 152 major medical centers and more than 800 community-based outpatient clinics.