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SIUE pharmacy associate prof gets unique mental health provider status

EDWARDSVILLE – Kelly Gable, Pharm.D., associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, is the first psychiatric pharmacist to be granted provider and prescriber status by the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

pharmacy CaptureGable is currently the only pharmacist in Missouri authorized to function as a psychiatric prescriber on community mental health teams. Within this new provider role, her practice site is eligible to bill and receive reimbursement for services through the state Medicaid system. Gable gained provider and prescriber status in January 2014.

Not only is this recognition and advanced-practice pharmacy role unique and new to the state, it is innovative nationally.

“This is an exciting time for pharmacy providers across the country, as we advocate both locally and nationally for payment and recognition of our services,” Gable said. “In many states, pharmacists are permitted to enter into collaborative practice agreements with a physician, allowing for a wide range of prescriptive authority.

“However, only a few states actually provide payment for services provided. As the pharmacy profession continues to advocate for provider status nationwide, recognition at the state level is a positive step in the right direction.”

The American Pharmacists Association and others are lobbying in favor of H.R. 4190, introduced in the U.S. House in mid-March. The legislation proposes amending Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for coverage of pharmacist services under Medicare Part B. Psychiatric pharmacists nationwide are using their knowledge, experience and clinical expertise to help fill the gap in care as the shortage of psychiatrists continues.

Obtaining provider status enables Gable to function as the primary psychiatric prescriber within assertive community treatment (ACT) teams – those that include a pharmacist, nurse practitioner, substance abuse specialist and others – where she fills the role traditionally held by a psychiatrist. ACT teams provide services directly to people where they live.

“We serve as a hospital without walls, providing intensive treatment to individuals with serious mental illnesses who often battle with homelessness, addiction and other serious medical conditions,” said Gable, who recently earned SIUE’s 2014 Teaching Excellence Award.

“It’s a treatment model that works to reduce hospitalizations, improve overall quality of life and promote recovery,” she added, noting that each team typically serves 80-100 clients.

SIUE School of Pharmacy Practice Department Chair Mark Ruscin, Pharm.D., said Gable’s provider status is an example of her passion for treating the seriously mentally ill.

“Beyond her excellence in instructional and clinical leadership, her recognition by the director of Missouri Medicaid as the first psychiatric pharmacy services provider/prescriber in Missouri is quite meaningful for Kelly professionally,” said Ruscin. “It clearly illustrates her compassion for service to those with serious mental illnesses as well as her advocacy for the pharmacy profession.”

SIUE School of Pharmacy Dean Gireesh Gupchup, Ph.D., echoed Ruscin. “It is an honor to have Dr. Gable as a faculty member at SIUE,” Gupchup said.

In addition to her position at SIUE, Gable serves as an adjunct assistant professor with the Saint Louis University School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology and Psychiatry. She provides psychiatric pharmacy services at Places for People, a St. Louis-based nonprofit whose primary mission is to promote recovery through service to persons with serious mental illnesses.

Gable has been on the SIUE faculty since 2007. A board-certified psychiatric pharmacist, Gable earned both a bachelor’s in pharmaceutical sciences and a Pharm.D. at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy. She completed a specialty residency in psychiatric pharmacy practice at the University of Southern California.

“Advocating for the thousands of individuals in the St. Louis area who struggle with serious mental illnesses – and teaching pharmacy students how to serve this unique population – is indeed my passion,” she said. “Practicing a holistic approach to care by working as a team to improve treatment outcomes as well as the quality of mental health care delivered is a greatly needed niche in our profession.”

The Medora, Ill., native resides in St. Louis.

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