Marion grad leads pharmacists
Passion for patient relationships is changing industry
Marion native Brad Tice didn’t spend much time dispensing pills after becoming a pharmacist in 1996.
Instead, he embarked on a quest to transform the way pharmacists and patients work together.
“That was right at the time there was the start of the movement of pharmaceutical care to medication therapy management,” Tice said. “It’s the service of having a pharmacist talk to a patient that they’re on the right medications, using them the right way, and having desired results.”
Medication therapy management is more than just talk, Tice said. It’s also having basic assessment and testing services administered when patients come in to pick up prescriptions.
“Pharmacists focus on medication use, and a pharmacist sees you every month,” he said. “Because the patient sees the pharmacist more frequently, and because there is a shortage of physicians and technology has made testing easier, we can supplement doctors. We’re not trying to replace what the doctor does.”
Tice will soon have a golden opportunity to make a transformational mark on the industry as president of the 62,000-member American Pharmacists Association. He will serve a year as president-elect beginning next March, and take over as president in 2019.
“It’s interesting to see the influence you can have coming from small rural areas, that you can still have national influence,” Tice said.
After graduating from Marion High School in 1988, Tice headed to the University of Kansas as an engineering major, but switched to pharmacy as a sophomore.
“I got exposed to people who were in pharmacy and they seemed happy and they enjoyed life, and that seemed to be a good place to be,” he said.
The switch wasn’t difficult for Tice because of an interest in science he developed in middle and high schools, he said.
“I think the education in general at Marion was really solid compared to other places and what some might expect from a small town,” he said.
Beneficial, too, was being involved in numerous extracurricular activities in high school, Tice said. He got involved in student organizations at KU, become president of the student pharmacist chapter and a student national officer.
“Growing up, we were in every sport and all the activities at school and church because we needed everyone involved,” he said. “My kids are going to a big school now, and you can easily get into a feeling like you have to focus on one or two areas.”
That theme continued after Tice graduated from KU in 1996.
“I kept up my involvement, and I’ve been elected to many positions along the way leading to this,” he said.
Tice was immersed in medication therapy management when he did an internship with Indian Health Service in Oklahoma.
“IHS is really the group that set the example for this concept,” he said. “We got to review the charts and sit down with the patients and review their medications with them in one-on-one consultations.”
Tice practiced over-the-counter pharmacy in the Kansas City area after graduation, then took a similar position in Davenport, Iowa, which was closer to his future wife, Angela.
“She was from Iowa and was going to the University of Iowa pharmacy school when we met,” he said.
Tice got the opportunity to advance medication therapy management when he became an associate professor of pharmacy practice and director of Drake/Albertsons Community Care Laboratory at Drake University in Des Moines.
The lab promoted an entrepreneurial approach to incorporating medication therapy management into pharmaceutical practice, Tice said.
Tice now directs development of MTM offerings for Cardinal Health in Nashville, one of the three largest pharmaceutical distributors in the country.
Among the Tices’ four children — Brayden, 8, Collin and Ethan, 14, and Mikayla, 18 — one has caught the pharmacy bug.
“The major Mikayla’s declaring is pharmacy, so we’ll see how that goes,” Tice said.
As Tice looks ahead to his APhA leadership posts, a change he would like to bring about is getting pharmacists designated as providers who could receive Medicare reimbursement for their MTM practices.
“There are many physicians who would love to have pharmacists work in their offices but can’t because there’s no way to bill Medicare for that service,” he said. “If we could get this in the Social Security Act, you’d see more pharmacists working in physician offices.”
Tice said he enjoys telling people about his small-town roots as he goes about his work.
“More people know of Marion than you think, and others know somewhere close,” he said. “If they don’t know it, they end up being curious. Don’t ever shy away from being proud of where you’re from.”