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Dr. Angela Black Smith Recognized for Customer Service

Raleigh, N.C.

Dr. Angela Black Smith, PharmD, whose research and analysis could save the state $2.5 million a year in prescription costs, recently won recognition as a recipient of the 2016 Governor’s Award for Excellence. The award is the highest honor a state employee may receive for dedicated service to the state and citizens of North Carolina. She was one of 16 chosen among 118 nominated for this year’s recognition.
 
Award winners were guests Sept. 27 at a luncheon at the Governor’s Mansion and then welcomed by Gov. Pat McCrory at the award ceremony later that afternoon at the North Carolina Museum of History auditorium, where he offered thanks and praise for their outstanding service.

As director of Pharmacy for the Division of State Operated Healthcare Facilities (DSOHF) within the Department of Health and Human Services, Smith oversees the use of medications and pharmacy functions across 14 facilities, ensuring operations run efficiently.

She and her team found numerous opportunities for savings after performing a detailed analysis. She initiated changes allowing the state to buy medications at deeper discounts by leveraging the buying power of governmental pharmacies across the nation.

“There’s a greater emphasis on efficiency and driving down costs while improving quality for patients,” Smith said. “To do that, you really need tools to understand where you are today and to figure out where you need to go.”

She helped design data-driven analysis to identify patterns of medication use by physicians among each facility type. The tools are reducing variations in physician practice, improving patient care and reducing expenditures. This work is projected to save more than $2.5 million annually.

“Angela sees every concern, every barrier, every problem that’s brought to her as an opportunity,” said Susan Saik Peebles, MD, Medical Director, DSOHF. “Her impact has been remarkable in many different ways.”

Smith is currently leading an innovative program, the Pharmacist Assisted Discharge Project (PADP), designed to improve access to medications for patients being discharged from state-operated facilities. This project reviews medications with patients before discharge and looks for opportunities available to make medications more affordable. Additionally, the project links patients with special services offered in their communities.

“To have the opportunity to serve in this capacity for the state is rewarding,” Smith said. “I find great value in being able to improve the health of North Carolinians who need us the most.”

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The Division of State Operated Healthcare Facilities oversees and manages 14 State Operated healthcare facilities that treat adults and children with mental illness, developmental disabilities and substance use disorders. Combined, these facilities employee more than 10,000 people and have the capacity to serve nearly 3,000 individuals with complex acute care needs that are not available in their communities. In SFY 2015-2016 the facilities served more than 8,500 individuals.