Recognizing Cathy Craig-Wilder On National Pharmacist Day
By Tricia S. Murphy
These days, it seems like there is a day for everything, but in the case of pharmacists, it’s well deserved. January 12, National Pharmacist Day, recognizes a profession which has shifted from simply dispensing prescriptions to being an integral member of the health care team, advising patients and health care providers on drug selection and safety while monitoring the health and progress of patients. January 12th is a day for us to recognize, appreciate and thank pharmacists for all they do.
At Crisis Control Ministry (CCM), we are honored to recognize our pharmacist, Cathy Craig-Wilder, who has been our pharmacist for more than six years. Many people do not know that CCM operates NC’s first licensed free pharmacy. Last year, our pharmacy served 6,661 patients and provided nearly $2.2 million in medication to people in a crisis or dealing with a chronic illness, all at no charge.
Cathy has a bachelor of science in Pharmacy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has 27 years of pharmacy experience. With experience like this, she could go anywhere she likes in the pharmacy world.
So why did she choose to work in the nonprofit pharmacy at CCM? Her answer is simple: “Pharmacists like to help people and at CCM the helping part is two-fold. First, I get to help people improve and maintain their health, understand what they are taking, and how to take it safely. Second, I get to help people during a difficult time brought on by a crisis or long-term financial struggle that prevents them from paying for their prescriptions.”
NC did not expand Medicaid coverage when The Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 resulting in more people not qualifying for Medicaid yet still unable to afford their prescription drug costs. CCM helps in two ways. First, when an immediate need arises for medication due to a crisis such as an automobile accident or loss of employment when the monthly bills simply exceed income. CCM also offers long-term prescription help for qualified patients as determined on a case-by-case basis. Because CCM does not receive government reimbursement, they do not have to follow any government guidelines.
Cathy is helped by many dedicated volunteers including four retired pharmacists, Larry Elliot, Bonnie Bergen, Larry Smith and Darle Shouse. Because federal law requires that a licensed pharmacist be on duty before any filled prescription can be released, CCM could not operate without the help of these dedicated individuals. Cathy has been inspired by their commitment saying, “I have been blessed to work with volunteers, where I didn’t realize that level of dedication even existed. Day in, day out, week in, week out, they are here … for years. Seeing and experiencing this is amazing.”
CCM also employs two certified Pharmacy Technicians – Chris Morris who provides support for the Pharmacy program, and Trish Bennett-Sluss who serves as the Pharmacy Services Coordinator, helping people apply for assistance from pharmaceutical companies.
Cathy says she is thrilled to operate the pharmacy without corporate bureaucracy. Having on-site management allows swift turnaround time for decisions and continual improvements. Help from the staff and volunteers allows the CCM Pharmacy to truly treat the client first.
Tricia Murphy is the Special Events and Marketing Coordinator at Crisis Control Ministry. For more information on Crisis Control and volunteering, visit crisiscontrol.org.