Massachusetts General Hospital has stepped in to help save the in-house pharmacy at North End Waterfront Health.
The move came after CVS Pharmacy, which had previously managed the pharmacy at New Health, notified the health center that it would not continue the partnership between the two organizations, due to what CVS Pharmacy claimed was low prescription volume.
NEW Health opened its pharmacy in May of 2017 as part of a federal grant to bring more in-house pharmacies within health centers. NEW Health partnered with then Eaton Apothecary, who at the time, helped staff and manage the pharmacy. Shortly after, CVS bought Eaton and took over management.
In August of 2019, CVS notified NEW Health of the company’s intent to leave the partnership; the move left NEW Health with only eight weeks to find another entity to administer the 10,000 scripts that are filled each year at the in-house pharmacy. NEW Health CEO, Jim Luisi, says CVS left the health center stuck, with a difficult timeline to manage.
“It would have been an impossible task to keep the pharmacy running after CVS pulled out and would not give an extension until another manager was hired. We were prepared to have to close for a short time to give a new manager time to convert computer systems, hire staff and replenish supplies,” said Luisi. Then, in stepped Karen Ryle, Manager of Outpatient Pharmacy, at MGH.
“She knew how important it was for the health center’s patients, especially the elderly, to pick up prescriptions at their time of service and not travel to find a pharmacy. Karen worked holidays and weekends to make sure that the health center pharmacy would stay open. It was a monumental task but her commitment to taking care of communities is unsurpassed,” said Luisi.
The NEW Health Pharmacy is located at its North End location at 332 Hanover Street. It is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8 AM to 5:30 PM, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 AM to 8 PM, and Saturdays from 8 AM to 12 PM. It is open to all NEW Health patients. It staffs a pharmacist that is fluent in Italian, and in Luisi’s eyes, is committed to NEW Health’s patients.