The CPNP Consumer Relations Committee will be highlighting the volunteer activities of several CPNP members in the coming months to increase awareness of these activities and to provide insight and guidance to other CPNP members that may be interested in getting involved in volunteer activities in the future. This month, CPNP would like to highlight the volunteer efforts of one of our members, Todd Brackins.
About 3 years ago, Todd developed Highlands Charitable Pharmacy. The pharmacy received 501(C)3 status and is able to receive donations and grants. Highlands Pharmacy serves the uninsured and under-insured with a serious mental illness. The pharmacy provides short-term supplies of psychiatric medications to those who are discharged from a psychiatric hospital stay and to whom a follow-up therapy/provider appointment is 2-4 weeks out. The project idea was conceptualized by Todd after noting several patients who were discharged after a 4-5 day hospital stay and could not afford to purchase their medications that ended up relapsing quickly, despite the Affordable Care Act or commercial insurance plans where patients had large copays.
Highlands Pharmacy is open two afternoons per week, and Todd staffs the pharmacy with the assistance of 4th year pharmacy students from Harding University’s College of Pharmacy. In his role at the pharmacy, Todd’s primary responsibility is filling prescription orders, but he also has the opportunity to help patients with patient assistance programs and provide complete medication reviews and consulting.
When asked about the most rewarding aspect of this volunteer activity, Todd noted, “seeing the relief on a person's face when I say "yes, I can help".” Todd noted that what he does helps people every time he works in the pharmacy, but he finds it especially rewarding when a patient that has received his help turns around and wants to help someone else or when patients come by to share their successes, such as gaining employment or when they come back to the pharmacy just to say “thanks” for helping them when they were going through a rough patch.
Todd provided the following advice for members who may be interested in volunteering in the future: “We have two ears, two eyes, and one mouth. I try and spend a greater majority of my time looking and listening in my work environments. There is great need, especially in the populations of patients we serve. These folks live on the fringe. There illnesses are not well understood, sometimes scary to the ones they are closest to, and are met with an incredibly immovable stigma. A friendly face, an understanding person, a sign of help, is very therapeutic to these folks, I have found. And it often doesn't take a lot of time.”