Retail News Breaks Archives
Pharmacy Execs of the Year: Kerr Drug Rx team
January 7th, 2011
Kerr's Community Healthcare Center emphasizes clinical pharmacy over prescription fulfillment.
RALEIGH, N.C. – Because of a dedication to health care that is unmatched by almost any other retailer in North America, the pharmacy management team at Kerr Drug has been chosen by the editors of Chain Drug Review as the collective recipients of this year’s Chain Drug Pharmacy Executives of the Year award for 2010.
The five Kerr executives who are being honored are president and chief executive officer Tony Civello, executive vice president of pharmacy and supply chain operations Ralph Petri, vice president of pharmacy and government relations Mark Gregory, Kerr Health president Mike Brown, and director of pharmacy procurement and analysis Ted Lingerfeldt.
By offering such services as medication therapy management (MTM), immunizations and diagnostic testing in all or many of its stores, Kerr has positioned itself as the model for what community pharmacies across the country are likely to look like in years to come.
“[Our pharmacists] do what they went to school for, which is patient counseling, chronic disease management and interaction with a physician,” Civello remarks. “It is intervention to improve the health of patients.”
2010 CDR PHARMACY EXECS OF YEAR:
Tony Civello, Ralph Petri, Mark Gregory, Mike Brown and Ted Lingerfeldt,
He relates that utilizing pharmacists’ full range of skills and knowledge is the vision of the profession that he has held since he was in pharmacy school more than 40 years ago.
Since taking the reins at Kerr 13 years ago, Civello and the 90-store chain’s pharmacy team have done as much as any retailer to make that vision become a reality.
That sentiment is reflected in the way Kerr runs almost every aspect of its business and is a basic tenet of its executives’ retailing philosophy. “Pharmacists need to be involved with more of the solutions,” Gregory comments. “Right now they are an undervalued asset.”
With the country’s health care system in the midst of dramatic changes, the opportunity for community pharmacy to play a greater role in managing patients’ well-being as well as control the cost of care has never been greater, according to Kerr executives.
“There’s a tremendous opportunity for pharmacy-led services to be an integral part of health care reform,” Gregory explains, noting that the expected flood of new patients into the country’s health care system is likely to overtax the existing resources and open the door for pharmacists to provide more services.
That transition from a business centered on delivering prescriptions to one focused on providing other services is well under way, executives say.
“The growth areas in pharmacy are going to be in long-term care and specialty pharmacy,” Lingerfeldt says. “By providing more pharmacist services, we are moving away from a product-for-reimbursement model and toward a services-based reimbursement model.”
Nowhere is Kerr’s commitment to pharmacy care more apparent than in its newest Community Healthcare Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. Emphasizing clinical pharmacy over prescription fulfillment, the Chapel Hill store and the company’s two other Community Healthcare Centers have taken the neighborhood drug store concept to a completely new level.
According to executives, the centers can provide more people with a level of care that is somewhere between what they receive from the typical community pharmacy and that provided by a physician.
“We believe that there’s clearly an evolving need for the store’s type of chronic care management coordinated with physicians and their practices,” Petri remarks. “So that’s our direction.”
As Kerr’s unique approach to community pharmacy continues to evolve, more patients across North Carolina are buying into the concept and becoming loyal Kerr customers. In turn, Civello notes, Kerr’s clinical approach is becoming more financially viable.
“We’ve been in this game for 13 years,” he says. “So we’ve really been educated on what programs are profitable versus which are just nice to have. We know which to invest in and emphasize.”
At the same time that Kerr has been developing clinical services, it has worked to change the way other health care providers see retail pharmacists.
“Through the years we’ve developed close relationships with physicians, because the medical community knows that we’re dedicated to patient care and have the right people providing it,” Civello says. “Doctors are receptive to our pharmacists’ recommendations because they understand their dedication and the quality of their work.”
ALSO HONORED BY CHAIN DRUG REVIEW:
• Retailers of the Year: Joe Magnacca of Duane Reade, Bob Zimmerman and John Spina of Walgreens
• Merchant of the Year: Mark Panzer, Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy
• Global Retailer of the Year: Super-Pharm