One of the nation’s biggest goals in health care these days is to reduce the number of hospital patients who, once discharged, soon come back for the same condition. To keep people healthier so they don’t need to return, it’s important that they promptly fill their prescriptions for medications—and that they understand how these medications must be taken.
At hospitals across the country in the recent past, says Robert Pellechio, R.Ph., Vice President, Barnabas Health, a “staggering” number of patients didn’t fill their prescriptions or take their medications properly, in many cases resulting in readmissions that represented both a health setback and a big expense.
However, Saint Barnabas Medical Center has opened a convenient new retail pharmacy right on its premises that makes it easy for patients to fill prescriptions—and get the vital information they need—before they leave the hospital. “This service is important for helping patients maintain their health and stay out of the hospital,” says Pellechio, “and it’s an important step in where health care is going in this country.”
In many cases, effective follow-up care after treatment can make the critical difference between a successful outcome and a lingering medical problem. “Our new retail pharmacy assists with the transition of care, helping patients get out of the hospital promptly and making sure they’re not readmitted for the same condition,” says Pellechio.
When patients are ready for discharge, a patient advocate asks if they would like their prescriptions filled before they leave. If the answer is yes, the advocate gets them filled and brings them back to the patient. “It’s a simpler way for departing patients to get their medications,” Pellechio says.
Located in the clinic lobby of the hospital, the retail pharmacy is open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Friday—“but that is flexible based on the need,” explains Pellechio, who says the hours may be extended if there are numerous requests for evening or weekend availability.
Open to the public, the retail pharmacy serves hospital employees and visitors, stocking a full line of over-the-counter products and sundry items such as candy and cough drops. A pharmacist is on staff at all times. “It’s an efficient pharmacy,” says Pellechio. And Saint Barnabas Medical Center patients don’t have to drive anywhere to get there.
To contact the Saint Barnabas Medical Center outpatient pharmacy, please call 973.322.2445 or visit barnabashealth.org/sbmc.