Reader confronts need for clinics


In response to the news last month that Rite Aid named Tony Montini EVP merchandising, DSN shared this exchange with an online reader:


Dear DSN;


I am a Rite Aid pharmacist in the small desert town of Needles, Calif. Needles is a poor town with a lot of our business being Medi-Cal — state Medicaid. ... This is the rub: There are no Medi-Cal providers in the city! Most people have to go to the emergency room, or those with Medicare D plans [travel] 20 miles across the Colorado River to Arizona. ...


Does Rite Aid have any stores with medical clinics in them? I know if there was a clinic in our store, or even in our business complex, our volume would soar. ... Really, it would open up a new world for our store if the people had access to a Medi-Cal provider — not to mention the traffic from travelers on Interstate 40. Could you, DSN, relay this message to Mr. Montini?


Sincerely,

William M. Garner, Pharmacist, Rite Aid



Dear William,


Thanks for your feedback. We will pass on your suggestion. In spirit, we agree with your comments — we believe America needs more retail clinics in general, and I am certain the community in which you live and work is no exception. 


That said, Rite Aid does operate clinics in California, including seven Lindora Clinics in southern California and three Sutter Express Clinics in the Sacramento area. 


Best wishes,

Rob Eder, Editor-in-chief, DSN


In fairness, DSN did forward Garner’s comments to Mr. Montini, who previously had already seen them on DrugStoreNews.com and sent them along to his colleagues in pharmacy. 


There are a number of things about this exchange that pleased me. First, it means that our integrated print-digital platform is serving users in real time.


But it also serves as an indication of the value the bench-level pharmacist sees in the in-store clinic model. DSN believes that together, these two important healthcare professionals — the pharmacist and the nurse practitioner/physician assistant — operating in a community pharmacy setting are critical components of real health reform.


It is a key reason we have chosen to add a special collaborative care track to our annual Retail Clinician Education Congress this August. If you operate clinics in any of your stores, I strongly encourage you to send some of your key pharmacists and/or pharmacy managers to the conference this year to learn more about how to bring these two important healthcare providers closer together to drive better patient outcomes. Contact me at reder@lf.com to learn more.