Temporary pharmacy opens
July 11, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (July 11, 2013) -- Lyster Army Health Clinic's pharmacy reopened and began operation at its temporary location in front of the main parking lot by Andrews Avenue after a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony July 8.
Col. James A. Laterza, LAHC commander, was on hand to cut the ribbon and invited Sgt. 1st Class Rolando Correa, an instructor at the NCO Academy, Susanna Castro, an Army spouse, and Danney Siegel, an Army veteran, to join in the honors with him.
"(The pharmacy) is one of the most important benefits that we offer as a clinic," said Laterza. "This temporary building is something that is going to be here for a little while… but it's a step toward a pharmacy that's going to double in size."
During the week leading up to the move to the new temporary facility, nearly 2 million pills were moved from the old location by pharmacy staff, Soldiers and vendors in an effort to get the new facility up and running for patrons.
The renovation of the old pharmacy, which is slated for completion in summer 2014, will increase its size to 7,000 sq. ft. and update equipment that dispenses medication in the facility.
"Staying at the cutting edge of technology is absolutely critical to maintaining the highest level of safety in patient care," said LAHC commander. "This is especially true in the high-volume environment of the pharmacy where (more than) 20,000 prescriptions are filled per month.
"Moving the pharmacy to a temporary building site will allow us to invest in the future and do this in a permanent way," he continued. "Installation of robotics to safely expedite preparation of prescriptions and doubling the size of our pharmacy represents our commitment to providing only the best to our patients."
Not only will the pharmacy increase in size, but due to the new robotics to be installed, patrons can look forward to shorter wait times and faster service, said Lt. Col. Taiwo Bolaji, chief of pharmacy at LAHC. The new system will allow prescriptions to be filled and packaged in minutes, not hours, he added.
Another added benefit that the new pharmacy will allow is one-on-one patient consultations.
"As (patrons) get older, there are more and more medications that (they have to deal with), and sometimes they might not know what they're taking or just may forget what all their different medications are for," said Laterza. "The capability to look at those drug interactions and ask questions is something that we'll be able to offer in the future with the new facility."
The new location of the pharmacy when it opens next year will be located where the current laboratory is located inside the clinic, and the laboratory will be moving into the pharmacy's old location, said Laterza, adding that these type of renovations and upgrades are necessary in order to give people the best care.
Hospital stays have gone down significantly over the past 60 years, said the LAHC commander, and much of that is due to pharmaceuticals. Because of the advances in medicine, and by management of patients on an outpatient basis and through the pharmacy, the quality of life of patients has been increased over the years.
"Not only that, but our patients and patients all over the world are living longer because of the magic of medication, and I think that's why the pharmacy has become so important in our lives," said Laterza. "Our patients are the most important reason we change. When we change to a new building or new pharmacy… the most important thing that we want to do is to make sure that quality is sustained."