Balls Food Stores has been honored with the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Foundation’s 2018 Pinnacle Award. It was presented during a ceremony at APhA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Pinnacle Award recognizes a pharmacy or health system that has made a significant contribution to the practice of pharmacy, including services that improve patient outcomes, increase medication adherence and reduce adverse drug events.
Since opening its first pharmacy in 1993, Balls Food Store’s pharmacies have been innovators in the Kansas City, Kansas, marketplace. Director of Pharmacy and Whole Health Michael Halliwell, RPh, has spent the past 25 years with Balls Foods continually searching for ways to both improve the quality of pharmacist care provided to their patients and keep their community pharmacies’ doors open through a tumultuous health care market.
A community pharmacy does much more than putting pills or tablets into a bottle and labeling the medication for dispensing. Balls pharmacy teams provide many clinical services that go above and beyond to protect patients’ health and well-being, including immunizations, medication therapy management and travel health consultations.
Balls Foods is one of only two retail pharmacy chains in the nation to provide pharmacogenomics testing, which can help assess if a medication is safe and effective based on an individual’s genetics.
The pharmacists of Balls Food Stores put a particular focus on ensuring that patients adhere to their medications as directed—as former U.S. Surgeon Gen. C. Everett Coop, MD, said, “Drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them.” With medication non-adherence estimated to cause around 125,000 deaths annually and cost the health care system more than $100 billion per year, pharmacists provide a critical service in ensuring effective medication use.
Using a computer system that Balls Food’s pharmacists helped develop, the company’s pharmacies were able to improve patient adherence to medications for diabetes and heart conditions. The system is crafted to focus on a patient’s health and address any problems with medications, instead of an automatic refill system to simply fill a prescription more often.
Balls Foods Pharmacy team not only cares for patients at its 20 pharmacies, but also has a specially trained team of pharmacists caring for around 400 employees and spouses on the company’s self-insured health care plan. Balls’ Start Now program focuses on individuals with diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease, using pharmacists to educate patients on self-care of their disease state, as well as work with their primary care teams to optimize the medications patients use to treat those conditions. Participants show dramatic improvements in their conditions while participating in the Start Now program, including improvements in their blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure numbers.
These pharmacists also administer nearly 1,000 biometric screenings annually, educating individuals on the basics of their health.
Ball’s Food Stores is a family-owned supermarket chain local to the Kansas City metropolitan area since 1923. It is comprised of 27 grocery stores and has operated pharmacies within its stores for over 25 years. The 20 pharmacies are located in both the Ball’s Price Chopper and Hen House Pharmacy banners.