DUBLIN, Ga. — Congratulations are in order for a clinical pharmacist from Dublin.
Dr. Kelsey Metts works at the Carl Vinson VA and she won a national award for her commitment to patient safety.
It's the highest recognition for employees.
Dr. Kelsey Metts and her colleague David brown created a "Reminder Report" that screens female veterans. They developed a series of questions for women veterans who are pregnant or may become pregnant.
The goal-- to make sure they know what medicines are safe to take during pregnancy.
"One of those reminders is the pregnancy and contraception reminder," Metts said.
The VA uses reminders to help update before patient visits. Some of the questions they ask are ones like "Are you pregnant?" or "Are you trying to conceive?"
"Most of them say no. Are you trying to conceive, most of them also say no. Then we get into are you doing anything to prevent conceiving?" Metts said.
Metts says this question becomes the most educational part for her patients.
"So, when I tell them 'hey well you're on two or three medications that could potentially harm an embryo.' They're like 'you think you can get me an appointment for maybe some contraception?' Sure, absolutely that's what I'm here for," she said.
Some of those medications include statins.
"You absolutely can't take ibuprofen in pregnancy. There are very small exceptions to that rule. But, for the general population that would be something, again, that you would have to avoid in pregnancy," Metts said.
And blood pressure medications can also effect a baby.
"There have been prolonged respiratory issues in fetuses or babies that come to term. Sometimes it's just a physical malformation. Some of these drugs there's been increased incidents of cleft lip," Metts said.
Veronica Gould is a veteran and mother of five. She says she would have benefited from this screening.
"It would kind of put me in the route of what needed to be done or what needed to be stopped. Or other routes I could go," Gould said.
Metts said a lot of providers can use this kind of screening.
"So, that were really closing the gaps at all these VA's, and updating these pregnancy and contraception status to prevent any harmful medication prescribing," Metts said.
Metts started the screenings in August 2022. Since then she's called more than 200 veterans, and caught three undocumented pregnancies.
Metts says they want VA's across the country to use the screening in the future that means they'll work on building a bigger database.