The Promising Future of “YES”

You’ll notice this month’s blog feature will be very familiar. When connecting with WSPC Board Member, Dana Porter, MBA, back in the Fall, we discussed how promising community partnerships laid on the horizon for the multi-store owner (Bright La Mirada Pharmacy, Bright Plaza Pharmacy, Tustin Pharmacy, and Villa Park Pharmacy). As the time passed, we had to circle back to find out what opportunities came of these contacts!

Recalling where we left off, Dana had been proactive to network within her local chamber of commerce meetings and was able to meet a superintendent of a school district. She and the superintendent began to brainstorm around the timing and proper marketing execution to ensure vaccination and testing for teaching staff. At the time, California had mandated vaccinations for teachers before October 15th, and weekly testing for unvaccinated employees by November 1.  The school district comprised of 120 unvaccinated employees. In a rush to meet the deadline, the superintendent concluded that they wanted to offer employees on-site testing while working. Dana was quick to put together a proposal and fee structure for the school year, receiving approval from the district board and quickly began to strategize how this plan would come to fruition within a matter of days.

Here were the details Dana was tasked to piece together: 13 sites, timing, geography, a CLIA waiver, number of staff, charged trip and per person fee. Once all components came together to make this plan viable, she submitted the contract, received approval, and officially began on October 18th. For the following months to come, Dana, one pharmacist, and one technician would travel three days a week to the 13 sites, with the pharmacist and technician conducting roughly 110 tests and Dana handling all operations, reports, and billing. The team made way and instantly came across the barrier that COVID-19 tests were hard to come by, especially with a demand of 110 tests per week. To help bridge this gap, Dana was able to utilize WSPC partnered supplier, PharmaLynk, and order the difference of tests needed.

And if this superhero team wasn’t tasked with enough, just two months later the school district reached out again to inquire about having the pharmacies hold five pediatric vaccination clinics for their schools. In true nature of community pharmacy, the team agreed to rise to an additional challenge. These clinics took place in the pharmacy, roughly administering 500 doses within the month and exposing new families to the stores. Prior to kids returning to school in the new year, another need surfaced for a testing clinic to provide clearance for students who were exposed to COVID-19. Dana again agreed to this opportunity to host two, two-hour parking lot clinics. The clinics proved to fulfill their demand as 70 students received testing with a positivity rate of 30%. Pharmacists and technicians on-site stepped up to begin testing and counselling these families regarding next steps and treatment.

As our industry continues to be ever-changing, WSPC members are embracing what the power that “yes” holds. An initial “yes” to a meeting, an individual, an opportunity, sparks a lasting effect on what potential the future may hold. With each agreed response, doors continued to open for Dana and her stores, inheriting new patients, a direct relationship with school districts to call on independent pharmacy, cash business for COVID-19 tests, and a strong bond within the community. We are confident in the continued success that still lies ahead for these stores.

We ended our conversation with Dana by asking her what she thought these opportunities mean for the future of her pharmacies, she shared, “Six months ago, I wouldn’t know how long this would last, but we know that vaccination is here to say. Bringing the COVID-19 vaccine to light has broadened the spectrum for other vaccination services such as flu and Shingrix. Vaccinations are now more visible to the general public, with the aim to void testing ability to pharmacists and provide technicians with the ability to administer these services. Through all of this, we’ve learned we must be flexible, be willing to come up with new processes, and utilize our staff beyond what they’re comfortable doing. We’ll continue to stay on top of opportunity that may not always be as custom as filling prescriptions.”