Nancy Fichtner, a Fiscal Program Support Clerk at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), has worked at the Colorado VA Medical Center in Grand Junction, Colorado for almost six years.

As is the case in most hospitals all across the country, medicine that is used in the hospital is not given to patients to be brought home; instead, it is thrown out. “Currently the inpatient medications such as ointments, inhalers, eye drops, and other bulk items are being disposed of upon patient discharge.” Nancy Fichtner proposed ending this waste and finding a way to allow this medicine to be used by those who need it.

VA has nearly completed Phase I of its plan to re-label and dispense certain inpatient medications for outpatient use. This is expected to save $2 million for 2011, and $14.5 million between 2010-2014.