In industry dominated by chains, local pharmacy grows

Jeff Bartone, president of Hock’s, said while drug reimbursements are low, his business has been finding ways to expand its model to fit in the new environment for pharmacies.

Combined ShapeCaption
Jeff Bartone, president of Hock’s, said while drug reimbursements are low, his business has been finding ways to expand its model to fit in the new environment for pharmacies.

In a tough environment for independent pharmacies, Hock’s Pharmacy is preparing to open its third location.

Jeff Bartone, president of Hock’s, said while drug reimbursements are low, his business has been finding ways to expand its model to fit in the new environment for pharmacies.

Now Hock’s Pharmacy plans to open it’s third retail pharmacy at 649 High St., Piqua, joining locations in Vandalia and Tipp City.

The Dayton Daily News has previously reported on the uptick in independent pharmacies closing in Ohio. Independent pharmacists have pointed to CVS Caremark as the culprit, which is a middleman company that manages prescription benefits for most Medicaid plans in Ohio.

READ MORE PRESCRIPTION DRUG COVERAGE

Who’s really controlling your drug prices? 5 things to know about PBMs

High price of prescriptions keeps some drugs out of reach

Million dollar drug keeps local woman alive

CVS Caremark also has the same parent company as CVS retail pharmacies, raising suspicions among independent pharmacists that their lowered reimbursements are an attempt to drive them out of business and give more Medicaid business to CVS’s more than 9,000 locations nationwide.

More than 90 pharmacies in Ohio closed their doors in 2016.

Bartone said Hock’s has been finding ways to reinvent the business and bring in revenue.

The pharmacy does medication therapy management, where insurance companies pay pharmacists to meet with a patient, typically once a year, to review their medication and educate the patient on what they need to know about their prescriptions.

“You go over the complete patient profile. What prescription medications are you on? What over the counter medications are you taking? Do you know why you are taking that medication? Because if a patient doesn’t see that medication as valued or needed, chances are they aren’t going to take it right or take it at all,” Bartone said.

RELATED: CareSource best managed care plan in Ohio per report card

Hock’s also has a free service, Hock’s Multi-Pack, that packages medications for Alzheimer’s patients, separating medications into packages marked with dates and times on when they need to take the medicine, which helps patients correctly take their medication.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid have been shifting to paying pharmacists based on quality measures, including how well patients correctly take certain medications.

This change makes Hock’s services like medication management and timed and dated prescription drug packaging valuable because they help patients to properly take their medications, said Bartone.

“So if I have somebody on compliance packaging, they stay compliant. They stay healthier,” Bartone.

Hock’s also has free prescription delivery and RxSync, which synchronizes a patient’s maintenance medication so its prepared and delivered once a month.

INVESTIGATION: Consumers kept in the dark over drug pricing

“It’s not all about filling prescriptions and reimbursements. It’s not that that’s not important, because it is. But there are other avenues to also make revenue,” Bartone said.

Miami County property records show the building where Hock’s is planning its next pharmacy sold for $375,000.

“We are very pleased that Hock’s Pharmacy has acquired the building and is going to continue operating a retail pharmacy at the property,” stated Piqua City Manager Gary Huff.

The new pharmacy will employ five or six people, including a delivery driver, adding on to Hock’s current staff of 47 including the two other retail pharmacies and Hock’s Medical Supply on National Road.

Bartone said the company currently does not have any other plans to expand.

“However, we are always looking for opportunities to serve great communities around the area,” he said.

About the Author