Retail pharmacy opens in JCMC lobby


L-R: Dennis Vonderfecht, President and CEO of MSHA; Joanne Gilmer, vice chair of MSHA board of directors; David Nicely, CEO of JCMC; Jessica Horton, pharmacist in charge at HealthPlus; John Schario, MSHA senior VP of consumer health services; Emilee Ketron, Miss Johnson City; Ed Herbert, MSHA VP of communications and marketing

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – 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.

Officials at Johnson City Medical Center (JCMC) are hoping to change all that. Last week, the hospital unveiled a new retail pharmacy in the main lobby of JCMC. 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 JCMC.

“This is all about patient safety and better quality care,” said David Nicely, CEO of JCMC. “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.”

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.

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.”

Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA) plans to expand the service enterprise to other locations within the 13-hospital system. A second HealthPlus & Pharmacy is planned for Johnston Memorial Hospital (JMH) in Abingdon, Va., to be open in the fall. The HealthPlus & Pharmacy at JCMC will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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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