In Jackson, Miss., going to the mall now means more than shopping till you drop. A private foundation has renovated an abandoned shopping mall and turned it into the Jackson Medical Mall UMM), which opened in January. A key component of the mall is the pharmaceutical care clinic.
The University of Mississippi's School of Pharmacy and UM Medical Center's department of pharmacy have teamed up to staff and fund a disease management clinic that will ultimately see as many as 50,000 patients annually. The credentialed ambulatorypharmacy specialists counseling patients will be reimbursed on a model drawn directly from that of physicians. In addition, students in UM's Pharm.D. program will spend their fifth and sixth years in and around the clinic.
Its supporters are calling the clinic nothing short of revolutionary.
"We are ideally positioned to make a real difference," said William L. Stevens, executive director of the Mississippi Board of Pharmacy and a strong advocate of the clinic. "I'm more excited than I've been in 30 years."
Planning for the clinic began a year ago, when Kenneth Roberts, dean of UM's school of pharmacy, and Joe Byrd, chairman of its department of pharmacy practice, heard about the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation. The privately funded, nonprofit organization was renovating an empty shopping center in a struggling section of town, to the tune of $25 million. When completed, the mall would lease space for ambulatory, primary care, and specialty clinics. To further spur community development, the United Way would fund another $25 million in neighborhood renovations.
"We saw that this was going to be a massive ambulatory care mecca," said Byrd, who, with Roberts, drew up plans to lease about 8,000 sq. ft. for a disease management clinic.
Byrd said their plans won the noticeand support-of two physicians at the UM Medical Center. According to Byrd, Brendan Ross, M.D., medical director of the adult outpatient clinics at the medical center, and Lessa Phillips, M.D., chairperson of family practice and coordinator of primary care clinics, "have been 100% supportive in welcoming us, understanding our role, and guaranteeing referral of patients. They endorsed us wholeheartedly."
Byrd and others have estimated that the entire IMM will see as many as half a million patients each year at its various clinics, with about 10% referred to the pharmaceutical care offices, mostly for compliance and drug education counseling. Big names like DuPont and Glaxo Wellcome have already signed on to sponsor special pharmaceutical care programs. …