ALBANY – The Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Pharmacy team was honored by the Georgia Society of Health System Pharmacists for its outstanding response during the COVID-19 pandemic.

GSHP presented the Phoebe Putney Health System Pharmacy Staff and Corporate Director of Pharmacy Services Marty Kelvas with its 2020 Outstanding Community Volunteer Service Award.

“In my 44 years as a pharmacist, I have never seen a team work so hard and work so well together,” Kelvas said in a news release. “They overcame unimaginable challenges with incredible ingenuity and a compassionate commitment to our patients, and I could not be more proud of them.”

The award is presented annually to a GHSP member who has demonstrated significant contributions to his or her local community outside of normal job duties. The Phoebe Pharmacy team was praised for taking on extra shifts and working around the clock to obtain critical medications at a time when southwest Georgia had one of the highest per capita outbreaks of COVID-19 in the world.

In announcing the award, GHSP Past President Jennifer Stern-Allison said, “Medication dispensing was reorganized to provide nurses the medications they needed. Additional critical care units were created and quickly set up and stocked by the pharmacy. Pharmacy took the lead in developing protocols for the management of COVID-19. Working side by side with physicians and nurses, they provided consistent care, assisted with making drug therapy choices in the face of critical drug shortages and rapidly changing medical information.”

The American Society of Health System Pharmacists declared Oct. 18-24 National Pharmacy Week to acknowledge the contributions that pharmacists and technicians make to patient care in hospitals, outpatient clinics and other health care settings.

“We are fortunate at Phoebe to have an amazing group of highly trained and dedicated pharmacy professionals,” Phoebe Putney Health System Chief Administrative Officer Brian Church said. “The work they did during the height of our COVID-19 fight, procuring and managing medication to ensure so many critically ill patients got the care they needed, was nothing short of heroic.”

The Phoebe Pharmacy staff is made up of 58 pharmacists, 56 pharmacy techs, four residents, one intern and four University of Georgia Pharmacist Faculty. The department includes licensed pharmacies at all four Phoebe hospital campuses as well as an employee pharmacy, a hematology/oncology pharmacy at both Phoebe Main and Phoebe Sumter, and a new Phoebe specialty pharmacy that will open within the next month. The department also administers a 340b drug discount program and indigent drug assistance services at all four hospitals. The team processed 5,818,824 medication orders this past fiscal year to patients at Phoebe hospital campuses.

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