Trenton, NJ. – In accordance with Henry J. Austin Health Center’s (HJAHC) strategic goals, a second retail dispensing pharmacy will launch at the Ewing Street location by spring of 2023. This sister pharmacy will include all the amenities and benefits patients receive at the Warren Street location, including access to the 340B Drug Pricing Program and various Prescription Assistance Programs.
Dr. Caitlin McCarthy, Director of Pharmacy, says, “We see a lot of pediatric and dental patients at Ewing that require more acute medications like antibiotics, inhalers, things like that, which they need as soon as possible. We want to minimize travel for patients, especially if they are in pain, experiencing homelessness, or do not have stable transportation. We’ll also be offering things like free delivery services. The main thing for us is we never want a patient to leave without their medication simply because they can’t afford their medication.”
Opened in 2016, HJAHC’s retail pharmacy already sets itself apart from others. Pharmacists, many of whom are bilingual, work closely with various primary care providers, especially HJAHC licensed nutritionists and behavioral health counselors to get a big-picture view of a patient’s health. They each have a panel of patients they meet with one-on-one to proactively address the patient’s integrative care needs. Pharmacists take into consideration: ‘Does this patient have insurance? Or does the patient not have insurance?’ and look at some other social factors that might impact their ability to get those medications. The pharmacy team further keeps an open, trusting conversation with patients using the RXlocal app instead of bombarding them with paperwork.
Dr. McCarthy explains, “So if patients get the app, they can do things like sending a direct message with our pharmacists. It’s 100% HIPAA compliant, so we can talk to patients about their medications, which is great. We also can have the patient’s request refills on their medications that way so that they can go into the app, they can see all of their medications listed there with all of the instructions, it tells them information like when is the last time they filled the medication, what are they due for a refill? How many refills do they have remaining, they can request a refill of their medications that way, or if they’re out of refills, they can request that we contact the provider so that we can request a refill or a new prescription. There’s a QR code on-site that they can scan that will bring them to helpful resources, instructional videos, and a list of warnings and side effects of their prescription. Everything at their fingertips.”
With expansion into the Ewing Street location, HJAHC will onboard passionate pharmacists and pharmacist technicians, part and full-time. The retail pharmacy at Warren Street started with just one full-time pharmacist and one full-time pharmacy technician. Now, with nearly a dozen on the pharmacy team, there is room for growth. A part-time staff pharmacist was just promoted to the full-time pharmacy position, and the team is excited to continue serving the city of Trenton.