October Is All About Pharmacy!

Emily Torgerson  •   October 26, 2021

The month of October recognizes and honors both American Pharmacists Month and Pharmacy Technician Day (October 19). At National CooperativeRx, we celebrate our incredible on-staff pharmacists and certified pharmacy technician every day, but it is important to continue educating the public on the invaluable work they all do to help our members.

Wayne Salverda, R.Ph.: Senior Director of Clinical Services

With the Cooperative since 2009, Wayne is our go-to encyclopedia for anything health care-related. Wayne works with members every step of the way to develop, evaluate and monitor their benefit plans, while keeping their best interests at heart.

Jocelyn Kerl, PharmD., BCPS: Clinical Services Manager

Jocelyn is an expert resource to both members and staff, having begun her pharmacy career in 2006. She is passionate about health care and uses her extensive knowledge to maximize each member’s plan design to work in their best interest.

Erica Guetzlaff, PharmD.: Clinical Services Manager

Having worked in the pharmaceutical industry since 2003, Erica shows our members what can be achieved through the right educational initiatives and formulary structure. Erica enjoys making the process more seamless for members and identifies ways they can save money while maintaining a high level of evidence-based care.

Jesse Dudley, CPhT: Implementation and Clinical Support Manager

Jesse supports our new member implementations and assists our clinical services managers with initiatives. She frequently meets with brokers and members to review their current benefit plan design and offers Cooperative program recommendations when necessary. Exuding a high level of detail, organization, and communication, Jesse is a wonderful addition to our team.

Pharmacist vs. Pharmacy Technician

A pharmacy technician’s main responsibilities include accepting prescriptions, communicating with doctors’ offices, filling orders, preparing labels, and assisting pharmacists with dispensing prescription drugs. Pharmacists dispense and check completed prescription orders for accuracy, prepare any customized medications, and advise patients on a drug’s proper use. They may also advise physicians on proper medications to treat a patient’s condition and issue warnings when they foresee the danger of potential drug interactions.

Get to Know Our Clinical Team

At National CooperativeRx, our pharmacists and pharmacy technician work together to provide indispensable assistance to our 375,000 covered lives. When asked why recognizing American Pharmacists Month is so important, Jocelyn Kerl, clinical services manager, responded, “Pharmacists are one of the most accessible health care providers in the health care system; most patients can walk into a pharmacy and speak with a pharmacist without an appointment. Raising awareness may help patients realize this important resource may be right in their neighborhood.” Wayne Salverda, senior director of clinical services, elaborated, “While I’m pleased pharmacists are chosen as a profession to celebrate, we should always recognize every profession and individual. So many days, weeks and months are set aside for this throughout the year for various industries.”

Jesse Dudley, implementation and clinical support manager, knew she wanted to pursue a career in pharmacy tech when she turned 18 years of age. “My background as a certified pharmacy technician has helped me in my current role at National CooperativeRx because I’m able to understand the true intent of how our members prefer their benefits be constructed. I also believe I possess the three crucial qualities of a successful pharmacy technician: math, detail, and teamwork.”

There have always been pharmaceutical stereotypes and according to our on-staff clinicians, those stereotypes are still alive and well. Erica Guetzlaff, clinical services manager, dislikes how some people assume all pharmacists do is dispense pills in a bottle. Wayne adds, “A huge misconception is that pharmacists can prescribe medications. While great strides have been made to better leverage the skills and knowledge of the pharmacy profession, our prescribing rights are limited. Also, it is important to remember your dispensing pharmacists bear no responsibility for insurance, coverage, and cost-share woes.”

The year 2022 will be here before we know it, and our clinical team is always one step ahead to better prepare themselves to meet the goals of the Cooperative and our membership. While Erica hopes to increase her specialty drug knowledge and refine our specialty high-dollar claim review process, Wayne looks forward to building upon our existing and innovative value-added clinical programs and services. Jocelyn strives to continue being a trusted source of pharmacy benefit information for the members and participants we serve. Regarding implementations, Jesse states, “After an exciting and crazy implementation season, I am eager to enter next year with a relaxed and renewed state of mind and continue being a trusted resource for our members and broker contacts.”

When they’re not working or busy answering prescription questions from friends and loved ones, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians like to have fun too! Jocelyn plans to celebrate the pharmacy holiday by sharing #AmericanPharmacistsMonth facts on her LinkedIn page and Erica hopes to have a virtual coffee date with herself, Jocelyn, Wayne, and Jesse!

We are grateful to have these four clinical experts at our fingertips to help our members and participants navigate the complex pharmacy benefit world. Next time you see your local pharmacist or pharmacy technician, say thank you!