Benton pharmacy slated for an early summer opening

Construction is underway to bring the City of Benton, Missouri, its first and only pharmacy by early summer.

Family Nurse Practitioner Amber Thorne, primary care provider for the Benton Community Care Center, said when the Missouri Delta Medical Center clinic first opened along State Highway 77 in Benton in early 2016, she wanted an on-site pharmacy then.

“Before I came here, I worked in Charleston in Dr. (Robert) Robbins office, and their pharmacy was attached right next door,” Thorne recalled. “I knew there was a huge need for a pharmacy here, and it took a while to build the practice.”

Since opening seven years ago, Thorne said the practice has built its clientele and expanded its services to fit the community’s needs. For example, she said, the Benton clinic has more providers now than ever: a rheumatologist who provides care twice a month; psychiatrist present two afternoons per week; counselor available three days a week; and psychiatric nurse practitioner three days a week.

Adding the pharmacy was the next step to meeting the community’s needs, Thorne said.

Construction to add a pharmacy to the existing medical clinic building began in late December with an expected operational date of early summer, Thorne said. The pharmacy will have a drive-thru, and it will include local delivery, patient-focused service, medication packaging, sliding scale generic pricing and online and mobile refill system. Most insurances will be accepted. a

Dr. Tripp Logan, a Charleston pharmacist who also provides pharmacy consultation for Missouri Delta Medical Center, said the pharmacy will benefit the Benton-area community.

“If you come to the doctor and then you have to drive a long way to get your prescription, that’s tough,” Logan said.

The new Benton pharmacy will be comprised of pharmacy technicians, pharmacists, community health workers as well coordinating care to serve patient’s needs, he said.

“That’s been something that’s been very valuable elsewhere that we’ve been able to do so I’m excited about having that option for people,” Logan said. “… Our team is really heavy into care coordination and working with the providers to ensure if someone does have a need, then they can find it.

He continued: “And sometimes it’s not just medicine; it’s having access to transit, helping set them up on Medicaid and more. The pharmacy staff will have access to the clinical record of the patient so it will help if there are notes that need to be put in and it’s adding an extra layer.”

The pharmacy will also provide patient education and community outreach, Thorne said. For example, the pharmacy will offer education to patients with diabetes and hypertension, she said.

“It will help help fill gaps (of patient care),” Thorne said.

The new construction to add the pharmacy and drive-thru will improve traffic flow for patients by creating one entrance to both the clinic and pharmacy and also separate pharmacy and patient waiting areas, Thorne noted.

Despite the construction, Thorne said the clinic remains open during regular hours: 8 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday; 8 a.m. to noon Friday; and closed from noon to 1 p.m. daily.