Centre Volunteers in Medicine using $35,000 grant to hire pharmacist

Centre Volunteers in Medicine received $35,000 as one of five state community health care facilities to benefitfroma CVS Caremark Charitable Trust grant, the pharmacy chain announced this week.

The private foundation of CVS Caremark in Woonsocket, R.I., gave $190,000 to clinics and health centers in West Chester, DuBois, Wilkes-Barre and Reading in addition to CVIM in Patton Township.

CVS Caremark, which donated $5 million to 69 facilities nationwide, awarded the funding in December but delayed releasing the news while it stopped sales of cigarettes and tobacco products in its stores.

CVIM, which provides free health and dental care to uninsured and underinsured local residents, used its funding to hire a licensed pharmacist with experience in clinical pharmacy to work part-time with the clinic’s medication program.

Cheryl White, executive director of CVIM, said the clinic never had anyone like pharmacist Denise Kreckel on its staff.

“The physicians are really excited to have her in place,” White said.

In her position, Kreckel will advise patients about complying with prescriptions and work with the physicians on acquiring free and discounted medications.

The clinic obtains brand-name donations from pharmaceutical companies as well as medications from Mount Nittany Medical Center and local pharmacies at bulk prices. Kreckel will help find the best deals.

“Somebody has to keep an eye on what’s out there, so we don’t spend a ton on medications,” White said.

CVIM relies on about $1 million worth of donated medications to complement those bought with a $20,000 annual budget, White said.

Annually, CVIM’s overall budget is about $800,000. Its 19 physicians or nurse practitioners, 11 dentists and eight pharmacists, all volunteers, treat about 1,000 patients a year.

CVIM belongs to the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, which partnered with CVS Caremark Charitable Trust to administer the grant.

“We are honored to recognize health care organizations in Pennsylvania that are using a variety of innovative methods to help people achieve better health outcomes and provide routine services to help ensure children and adults have the resources they need to achieve their best health,” Eileen Howard Boone, a CVS Caremark vice president and the trust president, said in a statement.