6101 Pine Ridge Road, Naples, FL
NAPLES — There’s no place like home after being hospitalized.
That’s one reason why the medical group practice with Physicians Regional Healthcare System opened a retail pharmacy earlier this week at its Pine Ridge clinic and hospital campus.
Also open to the public, the pharmacy in the central lobby of the clinic building aims to provide convenience to patients who are being discharged to avoid a trip and wait at a commercial pharmacy.
The same holds true for patients after appointments with any of the doctors at the practice and clinic.
The hospital and physician offices use an electronic system so prescriptions can be sent quickly to the pharmacy, said Gail Difini, director of the business office. Prescriptions will be ready in 20 minutes or less.
“I think it’s great for the patients,” , said Rich Vallette, the pharmacist. “They get everything taken care of before they leave the building.”
For uninsured or self-pay patients, the pharmacy is working toward offering a generic program and plans to have it available by the end of the year, Kara Poulin, Physicians Regional spokeswoman, said.
In the meantime, the pharmacy is offering the uninsured competitive pricing similar to what’s available at other pharmacies, she said. The pharmacy does accept most major insurance plans and Medicare Part D.
Retail pharmacies located on hospital campuses are not uncommon at some larger hospitals but it often is where the space is leased out to an outside pharmacy operation, said Michael Jackson, executive director of the Florida Pharmacy Association.
“The pharmacy business is not an inexpensive business to get into,” Jackson said.
A large inventory is required and it cannot be mingled with what the hospital has for hospitalized patients, he said.
“Perhaps they might see this as a business venture but the entire business venture is an extremely competitive environment,” he said.
Physicians Regional’s pharmacy would like to fill 250 prescriptions a day, Difini said.
“I think the pharmacy can handle 500 to 600 (prescriptions),” she said, adding that a typical Walmart does 250 to 350 prescriptions a day.
Physicians Regional’s corporate owner, Naples-based Health Management Associates, is considering opening similar pharmacies at other hospitals it owns elsewhere in Florida and in other states, Poulin said.
The same holds true for opening a pharmacy at Physicians Regional’s hospital off Collier Boulevard, she said.
The pharmacy hours at Physicians Regional-Pine Ridge are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Connect with health-care reporter Liz Freeman at www.naplesnews.com/staff/liz_freeman