Health News

CHCC unveils completion of new standard-compliant pharmacy renovation

By Lori Lyn Lirio

IN A bid to comply with the new standard set by the United States Pharmacopeial Convention 797 and to make its pharmacological service efficient, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation has renovated its pharmacy department and announced its completion.

With the focus on complying with the new standard, which will take effect on December 2019, the first phase of the project, the outpatient pharmacy, was officially opened on January this year.

CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muña, in a recent interview, recalled that they started renovating the inpatient pharmacy when the funding came after the opening of the outpatient pharmacy.

CHCC-Public Health Emergency Preparedness director Warren Villagomez, for his part, said the renovation has upgraded the clean room – the area of the inpatient pharmacy where IV or intravenous solutions are prepared.

The in-patient pharmacy is much bigger now, Muña noted, adding it took them six months to complete the renovation.

“We have to find the right contractor, who actually knows what they are doing and who deals with healthcare facility projects.”

She, however, clarified that it is not a new facility.

“We are actually trying to fit a new system, new walls. We have to make sure the shipment items perfectly fit so they can be installed easily.”

She added the testing of the equipment and the modular clean room were tested in July.

“We require the testing to make sure that it works and there’s no infection.”

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been surveying the CHCC annually. In the past, the CMS has not cited the pharmacy because it is still compliant to the federal standard, said Muña.

But she added that they decided to prioritize the renovation of the pharmacy department to be able to meet the new standards which will be implemented next year.

Inpatient’s sterilize compounding space. Photo by Lyn Lirio

U.S.P. 797 standard describes the guidelines, procedures and compliance requirements for compounding sterile preparations and sets the standards for sterile preparations compounding.

“When the new standard takes effect, we want to make sure that we continuously to be compliant. We are expecting a survey soon from the CMS. One of the requirements of the survey is that you meet the requirements of the new regulations,” Muña said.

Pharmacy manager Rodylyn Bacani said the inpatient pharmacy was located in a small room beside the operating room.

“Both departments – inpatient and outpatient – are now in one location. Our staff is working on both departments. It is more convenient now and efficient,”she said.

She said it is important to renovate and update the inpatient pharmacy because that is where they basically process all pharmaceutical needs for the hospital and for all the departments, especially for admitted patients.

“We are the one preparing, making sure that we give the right medication and right doses. We also provide for Tinian and Rota health centers. We also do chemotherapy for cancer patients, that is why it is very important for us to have hazardous IV room that we have now so that our pharmacist who prepared the chemotherapywould be protected from [chemical] harm,” Bacani added.

Staff pharmacist Kim Runge said the renovation of the inpatient pharmacy “will make a difference in quality healthcare that we will be able to provide to people of the CNMI.”

The renovation was accomplished in part through supplemental appropriations from Saipan Local Law 20-19 which appropriates US$200,000 for the CHCC.

The inpatient pharmacy services include: compounding of chemotherapy and/or biological for cancer patients and other sterile products; compounding sterile IV antibiotics and eye drops; daily clinical monitoring program for optimum drug treatment; overseeing the Antibiotic Stewardship Program;maintaining pharmaceutical inventory for emergency preparedness.


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Lori Lyn Lirio
Lori Lyn C. Lirio is a veteran newshen having worked for the People's Journal Tonight for more than 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications degree from the Lyceum of the Philippines University. She currently writes for the Marianas Variety, Saipan's number one community paper. .

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