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|Articles - August 2011|
|Wednesday, July 20, 2011|
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“It takes a lot more effort to stay in business today,” says Gary Balo, the proprietor of Paulsen’s Pharmacy in Portland, a store that has been in operation since 1918. “There’s more paperwork and the big insurance companies make the rules.” But other market conditions, such as an aging population, are more promising. Competing as an independent, Balo says, requires carving out a niche and banding together with fellow owners to boost purchasing power and political clout. In an era of health care reform, it also means convincing consumers and legislators that neighborhood drugstores are not relics of the past, but instead play a role in containing costs and improving patient outcomes. “We provide a service that cannot be matched,” says Balo.
Fein, who writes a well-known industry blog, DrugChannels, puts it more bluntly. “I have a tough-love message for independents,” he says. “Get big, get focused or get out.” The independent pharmacy industry represents a $94 million marketplace and employs about 62,000 pharmacists, according to the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), Although there are no official figures on the value of the Oregon market, there are about 624 retail pharmacies in Oregon, including independents, chains such as Rite-Aid and mass merchants such as Walmart.
To understand why so many independent pharmacists in Oregon chose to “get out” last year, start with the fact that many of the owners were in their 60s or 70s. “It was a huge slide,” acknowledges Diana Courtney, owner of Lake Shore Pharmacy in Lake Oswego and a member of the board of directors for the Oregon State Pharmacy Association. But according to Courtney, many of the pharmacies didn’t close for lack of business; they closed because the owners were retiring and there was no one to take over. David Swenson, the former owner of Bandon Pharmacy in Bandon, one of the 64 that closed over the past two years, is a case in point. Swenson, 73, spent the last eight years trying to sell his store — to no avail, although he did manage to sell his inventory to another Bandon pharmacy, Tiffany’s. “There’s a glut of us on the market,” he says.
Why? Certainly, the economy played a role. So did the workplace benefits, or the lack thereof, according to Swenson. “If you work for a chain, you get time off and paid vacations,” he says. “With independents, you don’t get that.”
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BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR
Pushing the extreme.
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BY JACOB PALMER
Ask any college student: Textbook prices have skyrocketed out of control. Online education startup Lumen Learning aims to bring them down to earth.
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Photographer Jason Kaplan takes a look at Murray's Pharmacy in Heppner. The family owned business is run by John and Ann Murray, who were featured in our July/August cover story: 10 Innovators in Rural Health Care.
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
Telemedicine, new partnerships and real estate diversification make health care more accessible in rural Oregon.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
One of the hottest new investment trends has proven quite lucrative for some companies.
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Oregon Sick Leave is here, and changes to the federal white-collar worker regulations are on the way. This workshop will prepare you for both. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to start planning now for the future impact on your operations and finances.
Presented by OEN + CENTRL + YESpdx.
This Roundtable will cover numerous issues under the employer "shared responsibility" rules of the Affordable Care Act, including how to track the "full-time" status of variable-hour employees, temporary or seasonal employees, and employees who experience a change in status or a break in service. Additionally, we will provide a brief overview of Code sections 6055 and 6056, which require most mid-sized and large employers to submit their first information reports to the IRS in early 2016 regarding the health insurance coverage being offered to employees. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to prepare for the future impact of the shared responsibility rules on your operations and finances.