Kratzer’s bucks trend of independent pharmacies in Ohio

Pharmacist Mark Kratzer next to an automated robot.

Pharmacist Mark Kratzer next to an automated robot.

Mark Kratzer will extend his string of enterprises on Monday, Aug. 3 when Kratzer’s Pharmacy in Lynchburg is slated to open.

Once that takes place, the Lynchburg store will deliver to Lynchburg, New Vienna and Fayetteville, said Kratzer.

Kratzer also has an ownership role at Town Drug in Sabina, Downtown Drug in Hillsboro, Barr’s Hometown Pharmacy in Xenia, Kratzer’s Hometown Pharmacy in Lebanon, and Kratzer’s Hometown Pharmacy in Middletown.

Those last two ventures opened in January 2020.

“Both of those towns had lost their only independent pharmacies, and we feel a town that size should have an independent pharmacy to be able to take care of the needs. There are always people who need a little more attention, a little more detail,” he said.

Come next year in April, Kratzer’s Hometown Pharmacy in Wilmington will mark its 20th year at its West Locust Street site.

Kratzer attributes the success of his hometown brand pharmacy to the support of the patients, and to the pharmacy staff trying to practice the Golden Rule — trying to treat a person the way the staffer would want to be treated.

“That’s enabled us to keep going when other independent pharmacies have closed across the state [over the past few years],” he said.

During the coronavirus public health emergency, Kratzer’s Hometown Pharmacy closed its lobbies to protect employees and patients, utilizing its drive-through. The employees sanitized their hands both before and after they waited on a patient at the drive-thru, he said.

Other services were maintained, as well. If a person needed say a shingles or B12 shot, Kratzer would go out to the car and administer it.

Kratzer’s Hometown Pharmacy does compliance packing such as the bubble pack and strip packing. He has had an automated robot installed that does bubble packs. And he has a machine that does strip packing.

Those forms of packing can help a person who has trouble remembering to take their medication, said Kratzer.

He’s hoping to add a setup so that phone calls can be sent out, advising a patient that it’s time to take a medication.

Kratzer has an agreement with Clinton Memorial Hospital that’s called Meds-to-Beds, designed to reduce the frequency of patients being readmitted to the hospital within 30 days for the same medical problem.

If a patient opts to do the Meds-to-Beds, the hospital sends Kratzer’s Hometown Pharmacy the patient’s information and the names of the medications that the doctor wants the patient to have filled as they leave the hospital. Kratzer’s will fill the prescription(s) and send it to the hospital pharmacy department.

Then the pharmacist or an intern pharmacist in the latter part of pharmacy school will go to the patient’s hospital room and go over the new medications with them and answer questions they have.

So, instead of a patient leaving the hospital with a stack of papers and running to the pharmacy, with Meds-to-Beds the hospital can do a continuation of care and go over with the patient the importance of the medication and how to take it. Kratzer contrasts that with “just getting scrips filled at a big-box store and going home” and then trying to figure things out.

Or Kratzer’s Pharmacy will offer to send a technician to the home of a patient who’s left a hospital or nursing home, and go over their new and old meds and get a list of them and bring it back to the pharmacy and have the pharmacist look them over. That will make it less likely a patient will take two strengths or two different forms of the same medication, said Kratzer.

Kratzer’s Hometown Pharmacy has obtained a CLIA waiver with Medicare which allows the pharmacy to set up testing for COVID-19.

The CLIA waiver also permits Kratzer’s to do cholesterol and strep tests.

Kratzer said, “When they do develop a vaccine [against COVID-19], yes we will be administering that vaccine just like we do the flu shots.”

Kratzer’s Hometown Pharmacy can do vaccines for shingles, the flu, and pneumonia.

And Kratzer’s Hometown Pharmacy has diabetic shoes and compression hose that it is able to get custom fit by a registered person.

Pharmacist Mark Kratzer next to an automated robot. Mark Kratzer next to an automated robot.