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Health Break: Ask a pharmacist: Your questions, answered

Person talking with a pharmacist

A podcast for UPMC Health Plan members, Health Break is your quick guide to caring for your mental and physical health, prioritizing wellness, and making the most of your health insurance plan.

Episode 24: Take a Health Break with Teresa Messick

Teresa takes a Health Break to describe how to connect with a pharmacist and ask questions using UPMC AnywhereCare. 


Episode transcript:

Camille: Welcome to Health Break by UPMC Health Plan, your quick guide to health, wellness, and how to make the most of your health insurance plan. I’m your host, Dr. Camille Clarke-Smith. I help to oversee the quality of the plans and programs we offer at UPMC Health Plan.

Angelo: And I’m your co-host, Angelo Bartic. I’m a health coach who works with our members on making healthy lifestyle habits and setting goals. This is your…Health Break.

Hey, it’s Angelo Bartic. Today we’re chatting with Teresa Messick to learn about how to ask a pharmacist questions through UPMC AnywhereCare.* She’ll also share with us some of the most frequently asked questions and the answers. Teresa, thank you so much for being with us today.

Teresa: Thanks for having me.

Angelo: The pleasure is ours. To start off, tell me about the Ask a Pharmacist tool.

Teresa: The Ask a Pharmacist tool is where UPMC Health Plan members can speak with a licensed pharmacist utilizing the UPMC AnywhereCare platform. What’s really nice about this is it’s a video visit, so you can use the app on your mobile device, you can use your desktop or tablet to set up these appointments. Things that members may have questions or something that the pharmacist can help with is if a member has concerns about their medications, we can explore lower cost options, members receive tips from our pharmacists to get better results from your medications, and then also, we can collaborate with your provider and get support for the member that way.

Angelo: That’s fantastic. It sounds like the Ask a Pharmacist tool really grants some great benefit[s] to the members. What are some of the most common questions you get asked?

Teresa: We get so many different types of questions. So first a question may be like a member may say, hey, I’ve got this medication. I think I’m having some side effects. I’m kind of hesitant to start this new medication. Or maybe even is a med that they’ve started and they’re like, gosh, I don’t know if I want to continue this medication, maybe due to side effects or maybe the concern is cost. So, you know, we can work with the member to kind of discuss what their concern may be and help to find a solution for them.

A member may call and be concerned about their disease state. You know, maybe a member has diabetes, it’s not controlled. They want to get some answers on how to get optimal outcomes from their medication. So we can discuss the medications, you know, maybe best time of day to take them. We can help with coming up with ideas to remember to take their medication each time so that they don’t miss doses, but really kind of dive into their specific diabetes and how we can help to get the most optimal outcomes.

Somebody may call and say, you know, I’ve got some issues with getting my medications. And so we can discuss the concerns. Is it perhaps that they would benefit from a pharmacy that has free delivery or perhaps medication synchronization where a member can work with their pharmacy to get their meds to all come due, you know, at the same time so it’s convenient for them, or even special packaging. So really kind of working with the pharmacist, reviewing any concerns they may have and then talking about those concerns and helping them through them.

Angelo: Now that we understand the Ask a Pharmacist tool, can you tell us how to make an appointment to Ask a Pharmacist?

Teresa: The first thing to keep in mind is the Ask a Pharmacist tool is no cost to UPMC Health Plan members, and it is available to both pediatrics as well as adults. Appointments are available weekdays, so Mondays through Friday, generally 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a member can typically obtain an appointment as soon as 15 minutes prior to the desired time.

Angelo: Teresa, thank you so much again for taking a Health Break with us and discussing the Ask a Pharmacist tool through UPMC AnywhereCare.

Teresa: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Angelo: Download the UPMC AnywhereCare app or visit to get started.

Find show notes and more information at Join us as we continue exploring health, wellness, and how to make the most of your health insurance plan in the next episode of Health Break.

This podcast is for informational and educational purposes. It is not medical care or advice. Individuals in need of medical care should consult their personal care provider. Views and opinions expressed by the hosts and guests are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of UPMC Health Plan and its employees.

To speak with a licensed pharmacist through UPMC AnywhereCare*, download the app. Then: 

  • Log in to UPMC AnywhereCare or register for an account. 
  • Click the Ask a Pharmacist tile. 
  • Schedule an appointment with a pharmacist. 

About Teresa Messick: 

Headshot photo of pharmacy help episode guest speaker Teresa Messick

Teresa Messick is a clinical pharmacy supervisor at UPMC Health Plan with over 10 years of professional pharmacy experience. After graduating from the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy, Teresa worked as a clinical program coordinator and clinical consultant in community pharmacy settings in Virginia and North Carolina. Teresa has been with UPMC Health Plan since 2019. In her current role, she supports and oversees her team who works telephonically with our members to help them get the best results from their medications.

About Dr. Camille Clarke-Smith: 

Headshot photo of Health Break co-host Dr. Camille Clarke-Smith

Camille Clarke-Smith, EdD, is a program director in the Quality Improvement, Medicare Stars Department at UPMC Health Plan, where she leads the Medicare Faith and Wellness Program, a 3- to 12-week health and wellness challenge. She is also the founder of the nonprofit Transforming the Health of African American Women (THAW) Inc. She earned a doctorate in health and physical activity education from the University of Pittsburgh in addition to a master’s in exercise science and a bachelor’s in psychology and sociology. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in social work at Carlow University. 

About Angelo Bartic: 

Headshot photo of Health Break co-host Angelo Bartic

Angelo Bartic is a health coach at UPMC Health Plan, working with members on creating sustainable lifestyle changes in weight management, nutrition, physical activity, tobacco cessation, and stress management. Beginning as a personal trainer, he quickly connected with his passion for helping others lead healthier lives. He earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and is currently pursuing his master’s in public health. Maintaining his personal training certification, Angelo recently became a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. He enjoys time with his husband and friends participating in recreational sports (kickball and dodgeball) through an LGBTQIA+ sports organization called Stonewall Sports.

*Members who are in Pennsylvania at the time of a virtual visit may select a UPMC-employed provider, subject to availability and discretion of the provider. Members located outside of Pennsylvania at the time of service or those who select Talk Therapy or Psychiatry services will receive care from a provider employed or contracted by Online Care Network II PC (OCN), also known as Amwell Medical Group. It is at the discretion of OCN providers to choose whether to treat patients ages 0 to 2. OCN is not an affiliate of UPMC. Limitations may apply for members of ASO plans who have opted out of coverage. Talk Therapy or Psychiatry services through AnywhereCare are not covered services for UPMC Community HealthChoices participants, UPMC for You members, or UPMC for Kids members. UPMC Children’s AnywhereCare is not available outside of Pennsylvania. If a member is under the age of 18, the member’s parent or legal guardian must be with the member during the video portion of the visit, and the child and parent or legal guardian must be in Pennsylvania during the visit. Providers are not available to treat members who are in Puerto Rico.