Bolivar-based Stephens Pharmacy Inc. has expanded its footprint into rural Dallas County via a new location inside an Urbana medical clinic.
Stephens Pharmacy, owned and operated by Citizens Memorial Health Care Foundation, began offering telepharmacy services March 16 at Ozarks Community Health Center’s clinic, which moved in January to 406 S. Dallas St. Hermitage-based OCHC began serving Urbana in 2015, when it opened a clinic at 111 N. Main St., according to officials.
“Certified pharmacy technicians at the Urbana location work with a supervising pharmacist at Stephens Pharmacy to review and safely approve prescriptions,” said Mariah Hollabaugh, system pharmacy director for Citizens Memorial Hospital and the CMH Foundation, in a news release. “Patients and pharmacists can also connect through a secure video for a live patient-counseling session.”
The pharmacy uses a HIPAA-compliant telepharmacy software platform that enables virtual prescription verification and live video counseling with patients. Seth Alley, pharmacist in charge at Stephens Pharmacy, is the supervising pharmacist, and Rebekah Spradling is the on-site certified pharmacy technician at the Urbana clinic.
CMH spokesperson Tamera Heitz-Peek said startup costs were $50,000 for the new pharmacy location. She said no other additional pharmacy sites are currently planned.
The opportunity for Stephens Pharmacy to provide telepharmacy services was aided by an update to Missouri State Board of Pharmacy rules in September 2020, according to CMH officials. Before the change, pharmacists were required to physically be on site to dispense medications.
“One of the barriers to care in Urbana has been the lack of pharmacy services. There wasn’t a good solution until telepharmacy regulations changed,” said Scott Crouch, CEO of OCHC, in the release. “Once that happened, we looked for a pharmacy that would be able to offer telepharmacy services in our new clinic location, and CMH was identified as a great partner.”
According to the release, CMH and OCHC have an integrated electronic medical record system through Meditech Expanse, which Crouch said “will help make the process of getting prescriptions filled seamless.”
The Bolivar health care system purchased Stephens Pharmacy in 2019 from Mike Stephens, who opened the business in 1975, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
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