When Project HOME first opened the Stephen Klein Wellness Center at the end of 2014, the plan was to eventually add a dental care unit and pharmacy. The space for these facilities was already built into the center. It was just a matter of hiring staff and pulling together funding.
The wellness center, located on Cecil B. Moore Avenue in North Philadelphia, provides low-income and homeless populations with primary health care, psychiatric services, and help accessing public benefits. The idea behind the center is to create a one-stop shop for the underserved. Meeting dental and pharmaceutical needs is essential to that, according to Greg Landistratis, director of operations at the center.
Over the past six months, the center’s total number of patients increased from 450 to 1,400, as Project HOME has increased its outreach in the community, Landistratis said.
The new pharmacy, in particular, will create a “feedback loop” between doctors and pharmacists, Landistratic said.
“In a typical setting, you prescribe the medication and it goes to the patient’s preferred pharmacy, and it’s sort of out of the clinician’s hands at that point,” he said. If a patient doesn’t take the initiative to pick up their medicine, he added, that undercuts the positive impact doctors can have.
The lead pharmacist at the wellness center will also be able to keep track of what medications are working and for what diseases and communicate that information to clinicians.
Earlier this month, the center received a $250,000 grant earlier from the AmerisourceBergen Foundation, the charitable arm of the one of the region’s largest corporations. The grant went towards startup costs for the pharmacy. In addition, the corporation also donated a large inventory of over-the-counter drugs and basic medical supplies, such as first aid supplies, tampons and pain relievers. Landistratis said the center will give out these supplies for free to gain favor with the community and future patients.
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With the startup costs covered, the goal is to make the pharmacy financially sustainable on its own. Through the 340B Drug Pricing Program, the pharmacy will be able to buy drugs at a reduced price and sell them at market rates. This will help cover costs, as well as allow the pharmacy to provide drugs to people who can’t afford them even at more reduced prices, according to Landistratis.
Image via Alex Vuocolo-30-
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