Sparrow Pharmacy Plus Pharmacist assists during Flint water crisis

Greg Pratt, a Pharmacist for Sparrow Pharmacy Plus, is playing an important role in helping the Flint community deal with its water crisis.

Pratt, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator with the Michigan Pharmacists Association, is aiding in coordinating distribution of blood level lead testing kits to Flint-area community pharmacies.

Pratt works with the state on building partnerships in which community pharmacies may help distribute the appropriate medications and supplies during declared disaster situations. The Flint situation has been an example of utilizing these relationships to provide a coordinated response using community pharmacies.

A pilot program is being developed to get point-of-care testing -- the ability to perform tests in these community pharmacies and get timely results -- to the Flint population. These results are shared not only with the patient, but with their primary provider and the Childhood Lead Poison Prevention Program, as required by

"We are simply creating a new access point (for testing) with better hours that can take some of the pressure off the doctor's offices and the health departments," Pratt said. "We are providing care and education in a way people understand and trust."

Pratt said the program has numerous benefits and is aided by the fact that Pharmacists understand disease management and Patients trust Pharmacists. The Pharmacists not only provide immediate test results but Patients can also get education and care instructions they need to help respond to and manage the results of their test.

While still in the pilot stage, Pratt is confident the project will continue to move forward. "It's a unique partnership to have this testing go on and have the community pharmacy play this role as a member of that patient’s medical care home."

Pratt’s work exemplifies Sparrow’s mission to improve the health of the people in our communities by providing quality compassionate care to everyone, every time.