Ashley Blaakman and Courtney Lopez work together as a team supporting three autoimmune clinics at Rochester Regional Health in New York. As the pharmacist, Ashley provides patient education and support and collaborates with providers on patient care. As the pharmacy liaison, Courtney handles insurance coverage, prior authorizations, and financial assistance while checking in with patients to assess adherence and coordinate refills.
We caught up with the duo recently to get their thoughts about specialty pharmacy and what it’s like to work for Trellis Rx.
What is specialty pharmacy and why is it so unique?
Ashley: I think of it as the “high touch, high cost” area of pharmacy. These are very complex, expensive medications, and patients require more support to manage side effects and stay adherent to therapy. I love it because I can see the impact on patients’ lives.
Courtney: Specialty medications can be overwhelming for patients. That’s why I work to alleviate their stress by handling everything required to help them quickly start their medication. I also work with Ashley to answer patient questions and concerns, and just try to make it easier so that they can focus on their health.
What are the benefits of working together as a team?
Ashley: Courtney and I have worked side-by-side since starting at Trellis Rx and we’ve developed a really effective workflow. Courtney focuses on ensuring timely approval of medications and resolving any financial barriers, and that allows me to be more effective at my job. I think it’s just as important for a pharmacist to support a liaison as it is for a liaison to support a pharmacist, and this is certainly the case at Trellis Rx.
Courtney: We both always try to go above and beyond for our patients and it’s amazing to have a pharmacist right next to me. If patients are having issues with a medication or questions, I can just lean over and ask Ashley. Patients love this, too.
Is there a particular interaction with a patient that sticks out for you?
Courtney: We had a patient who had a house fire and needed to get her prescription right away, even though she was quite a distance from her healthcare provider. Ashley and I leaned on each other, and we were able to get this patient her medication within just five hours from her initial call.
What attracted you to Trellis Rx?
Ashley: I was looking at Trellis Rx’s values and saw they were very committed to patient care. It’s also a really supportive environment, and as I was going through the interview process, I got a sense that my growth and development would be a priority.
Courtney: When I heard about Trellis Rx, it sounded like a mix of everything: you’re in the doctor’s office; you’re working with patients; you’re also coordinating with the retail pharmacy. I thought, it’s my whole pharmacy world all in one.
How does Trellis Rx work with your lifestyle?
Courtney: It works great because I have two young kids. It’s Monday through Friday with standard doctor’s office hours — definitely better than when I worked in hospital pharmacy and would get a call at 2 a.m. to cover a shift because someone called in sick. I also get to have the weekends and holidays with my husband and my kids.
How does the company support your professional development?
Ashley: I am always striving to better myself, and when I wanted to earn my Certified Specialty Pharmacist (CSP) credential, Trellis Rx was very supportive. There were study guides I could use, and I had access to pharmacists at our other locations across the country who had taken the exam previously so I could ask them questions.
Any final thoughts for those considering working for Trellis Rx?
Ashley: I know both Courtney and I feel valued here. Working for Trellis Rx is not only rewarding professionally, but it’s just a great company to be a part of.
Courtney: I’m always boasting to everybody I know in pharmacy about how amazing Trellis Rx is and how patient-oriented and employee-oriented they are. I’m just thankful I’m here.
Interested in learning about career opportunities at Trellis Rx? Visit our careers page to learn more about open pharmacist and pharmacy liaison positions.