MEDINA, Ohio — Discount Drug Mart has taken home health care at drug chains to a new level.
Building on its 2014 acquisition of Hastings Professional Medical Equipment, the retailer says it’s providing products and services unavailable at rival pharmacy operators.
Our reputation in the category is so good that the competition will refer customers to us,” says Dave Svenson, the chain’s director of home health care.
While still completing the integration, Discount Drug Mart’s pickup of Hastings’ two distribution centers and array of durable medical equipment (DME) has allowed it to fulfill wide-ranging needs of seniors and others requiring home care. Patients and caregivers can find products from stair lifts to wheelchairs to bath aids. The chain’s footprint and accessibility makes the offering ideal for local seniors, says Mike Kreutzberg, director of operations for Hastings.
Discount Drug Mart had a well-regarded and unrivaled home health care business even before the acquisition, notes Kreutzberg. Buying Hastings has allowed it to expand into new areas such as home delivery, he says, while giving it expertise in respiratory therapy, custom complex rehab and home modification.
With the push to have seniors stay at home, caregivers can now come to Discount Drug Mart for advice on matters like installing a hospital bed and catering to patients’ oxygen needs. To help pharmacists provide recommendations, every store has a rack of home health care brochures beside the pharmacy.
Each store also has a room in which patients can meet with a Hastings respiratory therapist to be fitted for a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. Once a machine is purchased, the store can carry supplies for it “so you wont have to drive 20 miles to a DME location,” says Discount Drug Mart vice president of finance Tom McConnell.
Reinforcing the new capabilities in the eyes of consumers has been the chain’s adoption of a new banner with the Discount Drug Mart and Hastings names. “People now understand that we’re one,” says McConnell.
Hastings, he notes, has been a familiar name in northeastern Ohio, especially on the west side of Cleveland and in the adjacent suburbs. It’s also well known through its contracts with hospitals.
Also boosting the business is a TV campaign with retired local newscaster Wilma Smith.