After the pandemic struck a couple years ago, Kratzer’s Hometown Pharmacy expanded its existing home delivery service because people were trying to hunker down and shelter at home.
But even though at this writing pandemic concerns have eased, Mark Kratzer said patients’ increased use of the pharmacy’s delivery service still holds true, and he thinks it will become a long-term pattern that will carry on.
“We do believe that delivery will increase, and it won’t get less, it will only go up,” he said.
The Wilmington store — Kratzer has several independent community pharmacies in our region — will deliver to Sabina and out to Clarksville and, of course, within Wilmington city limits. They do have what they call “synchronization” so that patients will be able to get all their regular maintenance medications in one delivery trip.
Kratzer’s pharmacies also try to do that same type of coordination for patients who come to the pharmacy, making it more convenient for the patient by reducing the number of their trips to the pharmacy.
The Lynchburg pharmacy delivers within like five miles of the store, and then a few times a week they go to New Vienna and the Blanchester area and Fayetteville.
Kratzer believes — and has demonstrated — that independent pharmacies can successfully compete with large pharmacy chains and online pharmacies by providing patient-focused services.
There is value in having your pharmacist know you, rather than just knowing your Rx number that you’re getting filled, he said.
Kratzer elaborated, “Some patients need a little extra help, and we’re here to help them in any way we can.”
He gave an example from the same week of the News Journal’s interview for the Progress edition.
A lady was concerned about being dizzy in the morning, and a doctor said it was probably either one of two things, one of which was a low blood sugar level.
“So she came in and we got her a glucose monitor and showed her how to use it. We sat down and went over it with her, it took quite a bit of time. And then she came back today and said she was still having trouble with the monitor.
“So we sat down and took probably another 20 minutes and went over how she was dong it, and she realized what problems [with the monitor] she was having and she felt more confident, and we’re going to follow up tomorrow to see how she does,” Kratzer recounted.
The key, he said, was making sure all her questions are answered and building up her confidence of being able to use the machine.
Kratzer’s Hometown Pharmacy offers DME — durable medical equipment — including wheelchairs, walkers, bedside commodes, shower chairs, and braces.
They are able to bill the different insurance companies and Medicare for walkers and such, Kratzer said.
“If we don’t have it, we usually can get it in on the next day,” he added.
Despite a nationwide issue with supply chains and manufacturing outputs, Kratzer’s Hometown Pharmacy has not had any true shortages of DME or of any medication, he said.
As for medication, Kratzer said their wholesalers “kept on top of it.”
The color of the pill may change, but that is their wholesaler keeping ahead of potential manufacturing shortages through substitutions.
Kratzer’s Hometown Pharmacy began offering COVID-19 vaccinations once doses of the vaccine became available. They continue to have vaccines in stock, and all the stores are signed up to get vaccine doses.
No appointment is presently needed at Kratzer’s for a COVID vaccination. They just request that people seeking either a first vaccination or any of the boosters come in by 5 p.m., or 5:30 at the latest, because they have to administer the shot and then the patient should wait 15 minutes to see whether there’s a reaction.
The pharmacies also do COVID testing, including, for example, if it’s needed prior to a hospital procedure. They also have all the items needed to do testing for travel purposes.
In addition to the Kratzer’s Hometown Pharmacy in Wilmington and in Lynchburg, there are ones in Middletown and in Maineville.
On July 6, a fifth pharmacy is scheduled to open in Mount Orab located in nearby Brown County. That will further increase the Kratzer’s footprint with home deliveries, he noted.
In April, Kratzer’s Hometown Pharmacy in Wilmington turned 21 years old.
At the pharmacy’s annual Customer Appreciation drawing on the Friday after Thanksgiving, lucky winners receive a $100 cash prize. There’s also a cash drawing on the anniversary date.
“I would personally like to thank all our customers who have supported all of our stores,” said Kratzer.
For more information on Kratzer’s Hometown Pharmacy, please visit www.kratzerspharmacy.com .