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Josh Bright/North Arkansas Regional Medical Center.

Josh BrighL, director of pharmacy services at North Arkansas Regional Medical Center, came by his interest in health care honestly and frighteningly.

Diagnosed with congestive heart failure as an infant, Bright, at the age of 3 months, was placed in the care of Arkansas Children's Hospital for what in the early 1980s was rare open heart surgery for such a young patient.

Bright stayed connected to ACH long after his recovery and saw a future, if not the specifics, in the health care profession.

"From an early age, though I wasn't sure what career I would pursue, I was sure that I wanted to dedicate my career to being part of a health care community which created the experiences I had received," Bright said.

He found his calling working as a pharmacy clerk at age 16, and earned his PharmD at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in 2008. Bright worked at pharmacies, starting a pharmacy-based, community immunization program while working as a manager in Yellville, before moving to NARMC in 2011 and eventually rising to director.

In his 3 1/2 years on the job, the department has nearly doubled its staff to take on roles in ambulatory care, clinical informatics, medication safety, compliance, chemotherapy infusion and medication reconciliation.

In the past three years, Bright has taught leadership and regulatory subjects to pharmacists around Arkansas. He also has regular community speaking engagements to teach subjects such as diabetes management.

Bright is an Apexus 340B Certified Expert, having completed the program critical to providing affordable prescription drugs in underserved communities, in 2018. He is also involved in benefits design and formulary management for the center's self-insured plan.

Bright's most memorable professional experience was seeing all of his pharmacy technicians become nationally certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). Currently, Arkansas requires pharmacy technicians to be licensed, but does not require national certification, a goal Bright set for his technicians in 2017.

Bright's biggest challenges come from regulations. Like most of health care, pharmacy is subject to complex regulations and requirements.

As a smaller health system, NARMC has limited resources that make it challenging to respond to changing regulations, new payment models and the need for more sophisticated operations. But, partially through his efforts, Bright knows he has the staff to succeed.


Months in age when Bright underwent open heart surgery


Age when Bright first worked as a pharmacy clerk


Percentage of Bright's pharmacy techs to become nationally certified

"I want to give back in honor of the life I gained, by paying forward the generosity and dedication of my family, my community, and my health care colleagues."

- Josh Bright

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Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Apr 15, 2019
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