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|Articles - August 2011|
|Wednesday, July 20, 2011|
Page 5 of 6
In Oregon, independent pharmacies are tackling other political and economic issues with varying degrees of success. The sector scored a big win in 2009 with the creation of a “critical access” pharmacy category under the Oregon Prescription Drug Program, which provides coverage to people without insurance, as well as thousands of teachers through the Oregon Educator Benefits Board. After community pharmacists in rural counties complained the program’s reimbursement rates were too low, Rep. Greg Smith (R-Heppner) helped lobby for the new category, defined as the “sole pharmacy in a community within a 10-mile radius of other pharmacies.” Such pharmacies, including Murray’s Drug in Condon — the only store within a 90-minute drive — receive a higher dispensing fee.
People in rural areas often have to drive 20-30 miles or rely on mail order, says Scott Eklad, director of the Oregon Office of Rural Health. “Particularly for emergent conditions, that is not good health care.” The critical access program, Eklad says, recognizes the value of rural pharmacies and the importance of helping them become financially viable.
The budding “Entrepreneurial Academy” at Oregon State University’s College of Pharmacy is another effort to shore up the struggling sector. The program aims to get a new generation of students excited about working in non-hospital settings, says Courtney, who is helping organize the curriculum. The academy will “focus on the business and marketing knowledge” needed to run a stand-alone pharmacy, instead of working as an employee, Courtney says.
Whether these initiatives will compensate for health care reform efforts is unclear. In January, for example, Oregon adopted a new benchmark for Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement, a move experts agree will lower reimbursement rates and profitability for independent drug stores. Community pharmacists also oppose a bill that would allow physicians’ assistants under certain circumstances to dispense medications, a policy shift favored by one-stop medical and urgent care clinics such as ZoomCare, a Hillsboro-based company. “We want to make sure we’re not being kept out of the loop,” says Courtney.
Monday, April 13, 2015
BY GRANT KIRBY | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
The mega-shift from technology-driven to data-driven organizations raises questions about Oregon’s workforce preparedness.
Thursday, April 09, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
Bend has reclaimed its prerecession title as one of the fastest growing cities in the country.
Friday, March 06, 2015
BY JEFF DELKIN | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
As a local business owner, I believe it’s important to build our economy on a platform of conservation values.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
Everyone knows cell phones and driving are a lethal combination. The risk is especially high for teenage drivers, whose delusions of immortality pose such a threat to us all. Enforcement alas, remains feeble; more promising are pedagogical approaches aimed at getting people to focus on the road, not their devices.
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY BEN DEJARNETTE | INVESTIGATEWEST
Timber companies and environmental groups take a stab at collaboration to boost logging and restoration in Oregon fires.
Monday, April 27, 2015
10 briefcases that mean business.
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
As a general rule, the more people with autism can be provided with visual cues, the better they will be able to understand and manage their environment. It’s a lesson Tom Keating learned well. The 61-year-old Eugene grant writer spent 31 years taking care of his autistic brother James, and in the late 1980s developed a spreadsheet that created a series of nonsense characters that grew or shrank depending on how much money James had in his account.
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