By Vanessa Orr, South Florida Hospital News, for ACHE of South Florida
As the assistant vice president at Baptist Health overseeing system oncology and infusion pharmacy services, Jorge J. Garcia, Pharm.D., MS, MHA, MBA, FACHE, has been at the forefront of how quickly healthcare has evolved over the past few years. As a member and Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), he has been able to stay on top of these changes, as well as prepare for what is to come.
“Being a pharmacy leader, during COVID I initially went through bringing vaccinations to the community, and later tried to increase patients’ access to the prophylactic and treatment options available,” he explained. “During this time, healthcare began diversifying sites of care to provide patients with the ability to get infusion therapy at home as well as at other non-hospital-based areas.
“This has transformed the way we care for patients,” he continued. “While this process was accelerated because of the pandemic, it did prove to us that patients could stay home and get a level of care there.”
In addition to making care more accessible to patients, this transition to home or non-hospital-based care has other advantages as well, because it is more cost-effective for payors, he noted. Garcia added that he has also seen a transformation as it relates to payor benefits around oncology and rare disease medications.
As these changes have taken place, Garcia has been able to stay abreast of the ever-evolving healthcare landscape by networking and learning from other healthcare leaders.
“As a pharmacist, being in ACHE is my avenue to the rest of healthcare,” he explained of the multidisciplinary organization that includes all facets of healthcare leadership. “The organization helps me understand how my pharmacy strategy fits into the overall healthcare strategy nationally. It allows me to connect with the bigger picture to make sure that my pharmacy strategy is complementary to the rest of health care.”
Garcia gives the example of a presentation at ACHE’s national meeting last year which focused on how primary care was becoming linked with pharmacies—for example, CVS and Walgreen’s have begun offering more comprehensive healthcare services to patients.
“I also learned about how the management of chronic conditions was decreasing the overall cost of care, and how pharmacies play a key role in providing access to chronic medications as an effective way to keep costs low,” he said. “The meeting gave me an opportunity to see the role that pharmacy plays with chronic condition management, increased quality of care and quality of outcomes, and how to achieve cost savings for healthcare in general.”
In addition to providing information that can help in his own field, as a Fellow of ACHE, Garcia believes that earning the credential helps to pave the way for peer-to-peer interaction.
“I think my own organization is gaining an increased awareness of the importance of the FACHE designation, but at other places, it is hardwired into the leadership process,” he explained. “I am a clinician by training, and having this designation helps me better identify among peers that are healthcare executives. We speak one united language, and it makes a big difference that we are able to collaborate from both a clinical perspective and also a leadership perspective. It reconciles the conversation in a very supportive way, and that has been a huge benefit in my career.”