Retail pharmacy to open at Memorial Regional Health Medical Clinic | CraigDailyPress.com

Retail pharmacy to open at Memorial Regional Health Medical Clinic

The old hospital pharmacy at 785 Russell St. has been repurposed into new retail space, which will open to the public Jan. 2. Pictured, from left are Pharmacy Manager Ann Nichols, Pharmacist Natasha Nielson and Certified Pharmacy Technician Stephanie Herod. Not pictured are Pharmacy Director Kyle Miller, Pharmacist Ron Areman and Certified Pharmacy Technician Wanda Brown.

CRAIG — The New Year will see a new retail pharmacy open in Craig, offering patients and the public expanded services, such as home delivery of medications.

"We're excited to open up to the community and provide the services we have envisioned," said Pharmacy Director Kyle Miller.

After about seven years of contemplation, 12 months of analysis and six months of licensing, renovations, hiring, training certifications, establishing contracts with insurance companies and wholesale drug companies, the Community Pharmacy at Memorial Regional Health will open to the public Jan. 2.

A small staff of five — Pharmacy Manager Ann Nichols, pharmacists Natasha Nielson and Ron Areman, and certified pharmacy technicians Stephanie Herod and Wanda Brown — were hired in October to operate the new pharmacy.

"We've been on an accelerated timeline with this project and have accomplished several milestones in a short amount of time," Miller said.

The new facility is located inside the MRH Medical Clinic at 785 Russell St. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, offering prescription services, vaccinations, some over the counter medications, diabetic testing supplies, medication counseling and advice.

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"Come in to the Main Entrance, go through to the right. Pharmacy signs will go up soon to help point people in the right direction," Nichols said.
One of the pieces of the complicated puzzle that made opening the pharmacy possible was for MRH to become part of the 340B federal drug-pricing program.

"Manufacturers participating in Medicaid, agree to provide outpatient drugs to covered entities at significantly reduced prices," according to the Health Resources and Services Administration 340B website.

It's not possible for MRH to pass those savings directly to patients.

"We can't pass savings directly to the patient," Miller said. "During adjudication of claims, claims go directly to the insurance providers. They pay what they are going to pay."

As a 340B-qualified facility, MRH will be able to purchase medications at a reduced cost, resulting in expanded services for patients.

"One of the benefits is to offer additional services, such as having prescriptions filled before leaving the facility, free delivery starting March 1, hospice care, and Meds to Beds — a program providing prescription services upon discharge from inpatient and outpatient surgery," Miller said.

These expanded services will roll out as the pharmacy software and systems are tested.

For about two weeks, patients and MRH employees have been filling their prescriptions at the pharmacy, and on Jan. 2, the public is welcome to join them in purchasing medication at Craig's newest pharmacy.

"It is open to the public; anyone is welcome to utilize the pharmacy. Not every hospital pharmacy can offer that benefit to the general public," Miller said.

Staff members are excited that, as a public health care provider, they are now able to offer a community pharmacy.

"We are able to be on a more personal level and have a better working relationship with the provider," Nichols said.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.

Where to find them

Community Pharmacy at Memorial Regional Health

Where: Inside the medical clinic at 785 Russell St.
When: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday; closed Sundays
More information: To transfer a prescription, call or drop in, and complete a transfer form.
Contact: 970-826-3055