A growing trend in the world of long term care pharmacy is for facilities to own or become partners in the pharmacy that serves their location. Concordia was ahead of the curve in this regard when executives decided to start their own long term care pharmacy approximately 10 years ago, and thus Providence Pharmacy Services was born.
The benefits to the facility and to the pharmacy are numerous. Central to most all of the benefits is the fostering of a close relationship of facility and pharmacy staff and administrators, with intertwined goals, missions and values. For residents and staff of the Concordia at Cabot campus especially, the location of the pharmacy is a key benefit. Delivery time and associated costs are negligible due to the close proximity of the pharmacy (located on the same campus).
Unlike so many corporate pharmacies, where pharmacy employees rarely, if ever, come face to face with the facility staff, we are blessed to have many opportunities to meet and get to know facility staff through the various employee programs that are available to all. Knowing someone personally and being able to connect a face to a voice on the phone makes it much more rewarding to work hard to resolve the challenging situations that face all of us daily.
Another major difference between Providence and many large corporate long term care pharmacies is that the goal of an in-house pharmacy is not to make as much money as possible from the client facility to feed the bottom line of pharmacy owners or shareholders. Instead, Providence Pharmacy strives to keep patient and resident interests first. We are constantly looking for ways to hold medication costs down and save our facilities and patients money through various measures. A few of those measure include reducing medication waste, suggesting effective yet less costly alternative medications and investing wisely in technology to operate as efficiently as we can.
While our prices remain very competitive within the realm of long term care pharmacies, each year of our existence has been profitable. This profit goes back to the partner facilities that own the pharmacy to be used as they see fit. For some facilities, the money goes back into the operating budget. At Concordia, all money earned by Providence Pharmacy at the end of each fiscal year goes toward the mission work of Concordia Lutheran Ministries. Providence employees take great pride in the fact that our hard work has provided extensive mission work in Africa, such as the purchase of mobile ambulances in the Sudan region.
For many seniors, establishing and maintaining a medication management program is one reason for considering a move to a personal care or retirement community. Concordia always offers free, personalized tours at our various western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio locations – Cabot, South Hills, Allison Park (Rebecca Residence), Butler (Orchard), Plum Borough (Ridgewood Place), Cranberry, Fox Chapel, Franklin Park, Wexford and Akron, OH (Sumner) – for individuals wishing to learn more.
This post was contributed by Rich Zabinski, director of Providence Pharmacy. Providence, the in-house pharmacy at Concordia Lutheran Ministries, has been serving seniors’ medication needs for nearly 10 years.