Retail pharmacy opens at Johnston Memorial Hospital


New service means convenience, better care for patients going home

ABINGDON, Va. – When a patient is in the hospital, all the medication he or she needs is delivered from the hospital’s inpatient pharmacy directly to the bedside. But when it’s time to go home, the process isn’t quite so convenient. Until now.

Current regulations prevent inpatient hospital pharmacies from dispensing medication for patients to take home. In the past, that meant that a patient leaving the hospital had to make an extra stop at the pharmacy before heading home to recover. Exhausted patients and family members may not have the time or energy to consult with a pharmacist at that time in order to fully understand what has been prescribed or why.

Officials at Johnston Memorial Hospital (JMH) are hoping to change all that. On Wednesday, the hospital unveiled a new retail pharmacy in the main lobby of the Regional Cancer Center at JMH. HealthPlus & Pharmacy is open to patients, the public and MSHA team members, but its primary mission is to help patients make a smooth and safe transition from hospital to home by making sure they have all the medications and home care supplies they need in hand when they leave JMH. The medicine can even be delivered right to the patient’s bedside, so for many patients, there’s no need to even stop in the lobby.

“This is all about patient safety and better quality care,” said Sean McMurray, CEO of JMH. “HealthPlus will make things more convenient for our patients, but mainly it will help them with their recovery process. If we can make it easier for patients to follow the proper medication plan, they’ll get well sooner and be more likely to stay well.”

One of the most common reasons for re-admission after a patient leaves the hospital is problems with medication. Either the patient isn’t able to get the necessary prescription medications, or he or she doesn’t fully understand how or when to take the medicine. Without that critical component of follow-up treatment, the patient may get sick again and need to return to the hospital.

To help make things easier for patients and families, HealthPlus & Pharmacy offers transition specialists who will meet with patients upon admission at no extra charge to tell them about their options and, if the patient chooses, help arrange for delivery of medications and home health supplies to the patient’s room at discharge or even help load supplies into the car.

“There can be a lot to worry about when someone is being discharged from the hospital,” said Susie Frank, Director of HealthPlus & Pharmacy. “This service will help ease patients’ concerns and ensure a smooth transition to home, where they can have a successful and safe recovery.”

The HealthPlus & Pharmacy at JMH will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Photo ID, L-R: Duffy Carmack, chair of JMH Community Foundation; Kim Nicholson, pharmacist for HealthPlus & Pharmacy; Susie Frank, director of HealthPlus & Pharmacy; Ann Fleming, MSHA Senior Vice President of Virginia Operations; Rachel Fowlkes, JMH Board of Trustees member; Sean McMurray, CEO of JMH. 

About Mountain States Health Alliance

Mountain States Health Alliance, a not-for-profit health care organization based in Johnson City, Tenn., operates a family of hospitals serving a 29-county, four-state region (Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, Southeastern Kentucky and Western North Carolina). MSHA offers a large tertiary hospital, several community hospitals, two critical access hospitals, rehabilitation, a children’s hospital, a behavioral health hospital, home care and hospice services as well as a comprehensive medical management corporation. Its 13,500 team members, associated physicians and volunteers are committed to its mission of bringing loving care to health care. For more information, visit

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