Author Archive for Infusion Solutions

Infusion Solutions Hires a New Nurse

At morning report recently, I noticed a new nurse in the room. I was surprised at how at ease she was, contributing to conversations and cracking wise like she had been at Infusion Solutions for a long time. I liked her right away–she just fit in and understood how to integrate herself into the group seamlessly. After talking to her about her upbringing, I can understand why.

Check out Caroline’s whirlwind journey through childhood; born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, then on to Chicago, then Geneva, Switzerland, then Korea, then Japan, then back to Korea (where she graduated from high school), with multiple stops in Hawaii throughout. Though she “hated” all this moving at the time, Caroline does credit this unique upbringing for her ability to handle new situations well and to connect with people from all walks of life. This explains the ease with which she integrated into the Infusion Solutions family!

After high school, Caroline was dead set on saving the beautiful world she grew up in, so she attended the University of Michigan and obtained an Environmental Science degree. However, that path proved too fraught with politics, and she transitioned into nursing in order to empower people to get and be well. This meant another round of schooling, this time at Flinders University in Australia, where she obtained her BSN in 2005. Her nursing experience includes urgent care, nephrology, dermatology, and home infusion. She particularly enjoys home infusion because it is truly patient focused and allows patients to take ownership of their health, which is critical to their success. Her clinical abilities are excellent and her interpersonal skills are a great asset to her chosen profession. She is now saving the planet one patient at a time.

Caroline is married to a native Spaniard, a gentleman named Benjamin whom she met on a ski trip to Italy in 2015. They lived in Spain for a period of time before choosing to settle in Bellingham early in 2018. They love skiing/snowboarding, eating great food, jamming to music of all genres, and of course…travelling. New Zealand is next on the list.

And even though her first name adds to our Caroline Confusion (we now have three of them), we couldn’t be happier to have her on board! Welcome Caroline the Third!

Infusion Solutions Hires a New Nurse

Infusion Solutions is proud to announce the hiring of another full time infusion nurse. Welcome Carrie!

Carrie comes to us via a variety of stops. Her father’s job moved the family quite frequently, with stops in Cedar Rapids, Fargo, and St. Louis, where she ultimately graduated from high school. She remained in Missouri to pursue a degree in Biology at the University of Missouri, but then switched lanes late in her college career to pursue nursing. She was awarded a BSN from St. Louis University, and thus her nursing career was born.

Her first RN work was hospital-based, spending seven years each in both the orthopedic wing and the special care nursery. Looking for change, she tried a stint with Express Scripts doing home infusion, and found that she really enjoyed it. It was at this time that her husband (also a nurse) took a travelling position that brought them to northwest for what was to be a one-year visit. But Bellingham worked it’s magic, and now the family is here to stay, to work and to play in the bounty that is Whatcom County. Carrie was looking to get back into home infusion, and we needed a high-quality, skilled RN with diverse experiences–so it made perfect sense to bring her on board! She values working for a small, independent organization such as Infusion Solutions.

When not at work, she and her husband (and their two dogs) spend their time hiking, kayaking, and generally exploring all there is to offer here. Reggae is her musical jam, but she also fancies a trip to Ireland soon. The weather is nicer in Jamaica, but either choice is great!

Welcome Carrie, we are glad you are with us!

EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS

Thank you to all who participated in the services provided to me. They exceeded my expectations. It was a pleasure meeting and interacting with each and everyone.  RS–Bellingham

Infusion Solutions Featured in Whatcom Talk

Infusion Solutions was recently featured in Whatcom Talk, a local news organization and media outlet based in Bellingham, WA. They are part of a larger “talk” network that spans numerous counties in Western Washington and beyond. Given the polarizing and acerbic nature of most news feeds today, we really value Whatcom Talk’s focus on what is positive and good about the community in which we live. It is a site worth supporting!

Check out the article on Whatcom Talk’s site here: https://webmail.hinet.org/owa/redir.aspx?C=gyA0H5UmjruW6pJjKaPz6WN0shPaEJ4Cezk7mnGJM1gD8ey5SzfVCA..&URL=http%3a%2f%2fwww.whatcomtalk.com%2f2017%2f11%2f22%2finfusion-solutions%2f

And for those who would rather read the article, here it is:

As Washington State’s only independently-owned home infusion service, Infusion Solutions has a reputation for always saying “yes” to their patients and referral sources alike. “We have consistently done the right thing,” says Infusion Solutions’ Account Manager Chuck Loos. Indeed, their mission statement puts patients first, and they always strive to meet their unique individual needs.

The onsite specialty pharmacy provides additional services such as compounding prescriptions for other facilities as well as patients of Infusion Solutions. Photo courtesy: Infusion Solutions.

While infusions may not generally be at the forefront of people’s minds until they find themselves in need of services, it is important to know what options are available. Infusion Solutions provides infusions of all kinds including IV antibiotics, TPN, enteral nutrition, hydration, chemotherapy and more. They also infuse specialty medications such as Remicade, IVIG and Tysabri, and offer travel consultations and vaccines.

The home infusion industry is a solution for many patients with a variety of ailments which allows them to remain in a comfortable setting. The objective is to keep people out of more expensive sites of care, such as nursing homes and hospitals, and home in a warm and familiar environment.

Rowena Birnel RPh, owner and operator of Infusion Solutions, decided to take her extensive fourteen-year knowledge of the home infusion industry and open a new location after leaving a large national home infusion company. She opened Infusion Solutions in 2010 with only five employees. They now have 27 employees and see patients in Whatcom, Skagit, Island, San Juan, Shohomish and even northern King counties.

Conveniently located just off Meridian in Bellingham, Infusion Solutions provides a comfortable setting for patients receiving infusions. Photo courtesy: Infusion Solutions.

Their facility on Prince Street just off Meridian in Bellingham boasts large, comfy chairs with amenities such as movies, television, free Wi-Fi and blankets. Comfort is key for those patients who come to the facility for their infusions, often staying as long as six hours depending on the type of infusions they are receiving.

Currently, the Infusion Solutions clinical team consists of four pharmacists, 11 RNs, eight pharmacy technicians and one registered dietitian. They are truly collaborative advocates of their patients, meeting daily to discuss the optimal way to provide care for each patient they serve.

“How we go about our business is what differentiates us,” says Loos. “We are constantly and consistently patient-focused. When you call our office, you get a live person. Our team interacts with each other and are always looking for what could be improved or done better. That’s what makes us different.”

Comfy chairs and warm interactions are just part of the extraordinary service provided by Infusion Solutions. Photo courtesy: Infusion Solutions.

Loos explains that the patients are an integral part of the home infusion process. Patients and caregivers are taught the modalities needed to self- administer the infusions at home. Once that initial teaching and training is complete, the patients are seen weekly for lab draws, dressing changes and full RN assessments. While the staff may not see their patients every day, they interact often and are on call twenty-hours a day, seven days a week.

From a five-week old to a 102-year old, patients’ needs vary as much as their difference in years. “We’ve seen some young mothers through some pretty challenging pregnancies,” says Loos as he compassionately describes the types of patients they are fortunate to serve.

As an accredited specialty pharmacy, Infusion Solutions is able to further meet the needs of patients living outside their local service territory. “We’re able to compound the drugs in our pharmacy and ship them,” explains Loos, who says they currently ship as far as Eastern Washington and northern Idaho. They coordinate with nursing agencies in those locations to fulfill the administration side of the home infusion process.

With high ratings from clients, the team at Infusion Solutions is incredibly patient focused. Photo courtesy: Infusion Solutions.

Infusion Solutions has proven that they meet and exceed patient expectations when it comes to high quality service. “Of all of the [customer] surveys collected, not one said they wouldn’t come back or refer us to friends and family,” says Loos. “We have gotten some amazing thank you cards from people we have helped through some really tough times.”

That compassion and caring is apparent in Infusion Solutions‘ commitment to the community. Each year the company supports various sports teams and tournaments, senior events and more, including productions at Mount Baker Theatre.

While you may not be thinking about infusions today, it is good to know you have a choice in care when and if the time comes. Thanks to Infusion Solutions, you or your loved one will have the best options in home infusion care.

INFUSION SOLUTIONS IS NOW A RADICAVA TREATMENT CENTER

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is an unfortunate condition that causes the death of neurons which control voluntary muscles. ALS patients decline over time and at varying rates, but all have similar constellation of symptoms, including stiff muscles, twitching, weakness, and a decrease in muscle mass. All of this contributes to difficulties in speaking, swallowing, and eventually even breathing. Once diagnosed, the prognosis is poor; most patients have a life expectancy of 3-5 years.

For patients and families living with ALS, this can be a harrowing experience, amplified by the relative lack of available medical help. There are no “cures”, and there has not been a new drug introduced in the marketplace for ALS patients in the past 20 years. However, in August of this year the FDA approved Radicava (MTPA Pharmaceuticals) for the treatment of ALS, and it has shown to be effective in slowing the rate of disease progression by about 33%. This is a meaningful change in the quality of life for ALS patients and their families.

Radicava is administered via infusion. The first cycle consists of 14 consecutive days followed by 14 days off. All cycles thereafter consist of 10 infusions over a 14 day period, followed by 14 days of rest.

Radicava’s distribution is limited to a network of approved facilities, and Infusion Solutions has been approved as a site of care for Radicava patients. Currently, all of our Radicava patients are coming into our infusion center in Bellingham to receive their therapy. We are working with the manufacturer to determine if these infusions can eventually be transferred to the home settings, and if so, perhaps patients and caregivers can be trained to administer them. We will receive formal training in November regarding these questions–stay tuned.

If you or anyone you know would like more information about Radicava or Infusion Solutions, please call our office at 360-933-4892. Our expert staff can help get you going in the right direction

 

 

COMFORTABLE AND EFFICIENT

The whole process was comfortable, efficient, and easy. I also appreciated that the RN had great IV skills. Thank you!

Some Infusion Providers Now Taking Medicare Patients on a Case-by-Case basis

The recent passage of the 21st Century Cures Act has placed some very real constraints on home infusion providers caring for Medicare patients. The Act severely slashed reimbursement rates for certain therapies, prompting some infusion providers to stop taking Medicare patients, or do so on a limited basis. It is a very real issue and puts patients at risk.

Infusion Solutions has always done whatever we can to accept Medicare patients and provide them with exceptional care. Some are forced to pay out-of-pocket costs, but find that it is worth the money spent to be at home where they belong.  We will continue to service the Medicare population to the best of our ability, and offer them the lowest possible rates to help make home infusion a viable option.

Here is a link to a blogpost which flushes out the rationale of some providers to stop taking Medicare: http://www.hmenews.com/article/infusion-providers-take-medicare-patients-case-case .

REBECCA IS AWESOME

Rebecca is awesome! – CC, Bellingham

LAURI IS EXCELLENT

Lauri is an excellent nurse and I miss her dearly! – HN, Marysville

HARD MADE EASY

You guys made the hardest part of my pregnancy tolerable–thanks for starting all those IV’s! – KO, Bellingham