• Innovation in Action

Dec 6, 2023

Patient and Family Advisory Council Spotlight: Focusing on Gaps in Healthcare

Yancey headshot 2017-2

Yancey E. Lockhart, PharmD, MSBA

Yancey Lockhart’s inspiration to become a pharmacist was solidified during his early 20s when his mother was diagnosed with cancer. He remembers how personable the pharmacist was with helping his mom understand her condition and how to take care of herself during treatment. The provider-to-patient connection was above and beyond simply filling a prescription.

Yancey, a member of the Health Quality Innovation Network’s Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC), applies his early positive experiences to his own current role as a pharmacy manager at Walmart in Radford, Virginia.

His focus outside of the normal duties as a pharmacist in this rural community of Virginia is addressing gaps in healthcare where treating chronic conditions is a challenge.

“The average wait time to see a neurologist is nine months in this area,” he said. The care is just not readily available, but we can change that with the use of technology and using grants to fund care programs.”

Witnessing the need for additional care opportunities drove Yancey to gather skills to address health care issues from a wider lens, so he went back to school and earned a Master’s in Business Analytics at the University of Virginia in 2020. He then became a member of a board of directors at a local free clinic to offer his expertise with closing healthcare gaps.

“A lot of people in this area don’t have insurance through their job or they simply can’t afford healthcare,” he said. “Many have chronic conditions and/or need treatment for mental health.”

Other situations he witnesses are that some people have insurance to see a doctor, but prescriptions are not covered under their plan. There are resources to ease the cost burden of prescriptions, and one of his goals is to streamline the paperwork process to help patients receive care efficiently.

“I want to be an advocate for patients and help them be able to afford what they need to live their best life,” he said. “I also want to represent healthcare providers so that they are not feeling abused and overworked. There is an emotional toll and trauma that a lot of people don’t realize healthcare workers experience.”

Aside from helping patients address the high cost of healthcare, Yancey said he is fully engaged with the fight against opioid abuse and misuse. While growing up in Tazwell, also a rural area in southwest Virginia, he witnessed the effects of people overdosing.

“There are a lot of grandparents raising children there,” he said. “It can be such a bad situation because between 80 and 90 percent of people start taking an opioid for a legitimate reason, and it can lead addiction and an overdose.”

“I’ve seen these situations a lot, and it really opened my eyes. I need to be that advocate for the patients I’ve seen, for their family members and for the patients that I personally know and care about. I can use my knowledge to help this community and be a voice for others who can’t be a voice for themselves.”

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