A lot can happen in a year. In fact, a lot can happen in the range of a few months, a week and even a day, as is evident by the COVID-19 pandemic. One day life is normal and the next, people are fighting for their lives, practicing social isolation and banding together to help take care of those most at risk.
No-one knows this fight better than the world’s healthcare workers. Right there on the frontline with humanity’s finest is the team at Chartwell Pennsylvania, LP, majority owned by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).
Responsible for helping patients have a seamless journey from the hospital to their homes, this company’s work has never been so essential. “As a home infusion and specialty pharmacy provider, our job is to help our hospitals make beds available by helping as many patients as possible administer their therapies in the home setting,” says Chartwell’s President and CEO Kathleen Patrick.
“We are also tasked with keeping those patients at home and out of the hospitals where they can drain essential resources, especially during the time of a pandemic.”
In light of this unprecedented time, Chartwell’s team didn’t waste a minute. Under Kathleen’s astute leadership, in seven days they were able to achieve what would typically take months or longer to accomplish.
“In a matter of one week, we moved half of our workforce to our work from home program. We serviced more than 3,000 patients that week, and we began compounding hand sanitizer for our health system,” she beams.
“On top of that, we also administered the first-ever home dose of a new breakthrough drug to treat Graves’ disease.” Kathleen is no stranger to the rapid pace of health care. She has been in the industry for nearly four decades and a part of UPMC for more than half of that time.
While anyone can sit back and wait, watching others blaze the trail, we drive the train on innovation and expect to do so for as long as we are in existence.
Recently, Kathleen was also named President of UPMC Community Pharmacies, including Chartwell, Rx Partners and the UPMC Retail Pharmacy Network. She credits empowering her team to make decisions as the reason Chartwell is able to be so agile.
“I give my leadership team a lot of leeway to make the right decisions – and they always do,” she asserts. “None of us are perfect, and I need to be able to let my team know that I trust them to make the right move. Even if the decision turns out bad, we learn from it and move on. Fortunately, I can’t recall a bad move our team has made in a very long time.”
Just in the past year, the company has soared to new heights. Thanks to its rapid growth, Chartwell moved into a brand new 52,000-squarefoot facility with a state-of-the-art clean room and compounding technology, exceeding pharmacy standard recommendations.
It also became one of three pharmacies to receive accreditation from URAC and the Accreditation Commission for Health Care with two distinctions in oncology and hazardous drug handling.
As if that wasn’t enough, this high-achieving company also exceeded US$2 billion in gross revenue for the first time ever. Yet for Kathleen, success lies less in the profit and more in lives changed. “If you are a healthcare company that thinks finance first, you probably aren’t much of a healthcare company,” she says.
“At Chartwell, our patients just want to be able to live their lives like the rest of us. They don’t want their diseases to interfere with spending time with their children or grandchildren. They just want to get up and go to work and go on vacation like the rest of us. Our company’s job is to let them live their lives. It’s to let them make their own decisions about what they eat for dinner, when and with whom. We don’t want them in the hospital or a skilled facility where they lose that control. Our patients are the reason we exist.”
And one of the reasons Chartwell can do everything it does for its clients is because of the strong partnerships it’s formed over the years. “It’s amazing to me how many leaders, especially in health care, think they don’t need anyone else to succeed,” she says.
“We maintain extremely close relationships with our key suppliers – we need to. If you’re not fostering key relationships, then you’ll find yourself all alone on an island when times get tough. And times will get tough.”
As for the future, no matter what it may bring, Kathleen says Chartwell is committed to expanding its reach. “With the right partners, we feel we can achieve great things for patients and health systems across the nation,” she shares.
“While anyone can sit back and wait, watching others blaze the trail, we drive the train on innovation and expect to do so for as long as we are in existence.”
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