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Genoa Healthcare Expands Mental Health Training for Its Pharmacy Teams, Addressing Growing Need for Access to Behavioral Health Care

Aug 16th, 2021

Investment in training will deepen pharmacy teams’ expertise and lead to a higher level of care

Increase in Mental Health Training for Pharmacists

RENTON, Wash. (August 11, 2021) – Recognizing the growing need for access to mental health care, leading behavioral health pharmacy provider Genoa Healthcare has expanded its mental health training for pharmacy care teams, including ensuring 100% of its pharmacists complete mental health first aid (MHFA) training by the end of 2021.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people with symptoms of depression and anxiety has risen while the percentage of people experiencing unmet mental health needs has also increased, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Genoa’s training is intended to ensure its pharmacy teams, located on-site in community mental health centers, are equipped to play a critical role in recognizing and addressing mental health issues.

“Our pharmacy teams already specialize in behavioral health, and now we are further enhancing their training to meet the growing needs of the people we serve in communities nationwide,” said Genoa Healthcare CEO Joe Douglas. “We are committed to investing in our pharmacy teams, and our training program means they can practice at the top of their license and deliver a higher level of care.”

Genoa’s five-tier training program is designed to deepen its pharmacy teams’ expertise in behavioral health pharmacy, including:

  • Foundational behavioral health literacy and behavioral health training for all pharmacy employees on providing health care services in a behavioral health setting, including information on common psychiatric medications and communicating effectively with patients and providers;
  • MHFA for all pharmacists in 2021, expanding to pharmacy technicians and other staff in 2022, to teach them to recognize risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, and strategies for help people in a crisis situation; and
  • At the highest level, Genoa pharmacists also have access to psychiatric specialty training, as well as the option to complete psychiatric board certification.

The training courses help pharmacy teams recognize symptoms of mental illness, such as panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder or psychosis, and ensure they’re prepared to support them by providing immediate support or calling for emergency medical help. Because pharmacists are located on-site and act as part of the clinic care team, they can alert health care providers and other clinic staff to provide additional support and prevent a more serious crisis.

The trainings have already impacted pharmacy team interactions with consumers. A Genoa pharmacist who had recently completed MHFA training was approached by an agitated patient and was able to apply her learnings to engage with him about his concerns and then connect him with a doctor, who changed his medication. He was able to go home with a new prescription that day.

“The training helped me have a constructive conversation with the patient and take steps to address his concerns,” said the pharmacist, Caitlin Bertrand of Lafayette, Louisiana. “I became a pharmacist because I wanted to make a difference, and this training is just another example of how Genoa invests in us to be able to do just that.”

About Genoa Healthcare Genoa Healthcare has been serving the behavioral health community for 20 years, providing pharmacy and medication management services. Today, Genoa Healthcare has more than 580 pharmacies located onsite within community mental health centers across 47 states and the District of Columbia. Genoa Healthcare is part of OptumRx, a leading pharmacy care services company.

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