Brenda Reitz, in foreground, is now the pharmacy director of Family Health Services. She is shown with Janell Claudy, who oversaw the pharmacy department from the time it started until she retired.

FH pharmacy director: Many reasons to celebrate

GREENVILLE—Family Health Pharmacy will be the scene of a 20th anniversary celebration on May 27 from 11am to 4 pm.

“We are privileged to serve this wonderful rural community and live our mission of ‘Building Healthy Lives Together,'” said Pharmacy Director Brenda Reitz. “Family Health Services uses all savings resulting from its participation in the 340B pricing program to expand our patients’ ability to access medication and comprehensive innovative services regardless of their ability to pay. We, at Family Health Pharmacy, would be honored if you would be able to join us at 11 a.m. to celebrate with us and our community.”

Reitz promises a fun-filled day, which includes food trucks, games, a face painter, raffles, giveaways, just to name a few in order to give back to the community.

“This is our way of showing the community and employees we appreciate them for supporting us over the last 20 years. At the same time, we would like them to be able to meet those who make this all possible and thank our representatives for their support and the hard work they do to lift up our communities.”

The following, she said, are confirmed activities/guests: Reps. Susan Manchester and Jenna Powell; Darke County Sheriff Mark Whittaker; Ohio Pharmacist Association President Elect Dr. Logan Yoho; Badger BBQ food truck; Creme de la Creme Cakery truck; popcorn; face-painting and coloring books for children; Lucky the Clown, local artist Paul Ackley, fire department and EMS. There will be raffle items from local businesses and gift bags filled with various goodies.

Family Health Services had its beginnings in 1973, with Dr. Delbert Blickenstaff, Janet Johnson and Jean Louise Thieme at the helm. Before building the new facility, they worked in the basement of the Brethren’s Home, basically with the migrant population.
The pharmacy officially opened May 2, 2002, in the initial building at 5735 Meeker Road, where Family Health Vision Center is currently located.

Janell Claudy, who retired in 2019, was the original Pharmacy Director.

“Jay Montgomery was the clinic administrator then,” Claudy said. “I came in two days a week and checked dates on samples. In six month or a year, they wanted to start a pharmacy there. They sent me to a conference in Washington, D.C, where they talked about the 340B program.”

After she returned and reported what she experienced there, they definitely wanted to put a pharmacy in and did so. The only available space was a hallway. They cut a hole in the wall in order to have access to patients in the waiting room.

Claudy added, “It doesn’t even compare to how we started. That gave me the courage. We hoped when we opened we could fill 50 prescriptions a day.  We felt we could cover that. Now, they’re doing 400 a day. It was pretty much a one-man operation. This was a new concept when it first started.”

Reitz, who had a retail background before she became the Director of Pharmacy, remarked. “We’re very well supported here by our administration. We give each patient quality time and quality care. We make sure they understand how to use their medication. Here, we have resources to take care of the patients.”

She said the Clinical Pharmacy program was started in 2015.

“We saw a need for more of our services,” Reitz said. “We are able to spend the time with our patients and we work on treatment plans. It’s more than dispensing. We use our knowledge to fully educate to the patient.”

And, she reported there is now a Pharmacy Residency program at Family Health with the 5th Resident starting in July.

According to Reitz, the 340B pricing program has certain stipulations to qualify.

“We are a Federally Qualified Health Center,” she explained. “It’s a closed-door model pharmacy thus we can only use 340B drugs to fill for only Family Health patients, who have to be seen within two years. This is not your typical retail drug store. We’re unique.”

The facility is undergoing audits constantly.

“We do a self-audit monthly and an external audit once a year to ensure compliance with the 340B pricing program rules.  We are subject to other audits,” the director pointed out. “We fill about 7,000 prescriptions a month. We highly support dental, behavioral health, clinical pharmacy and are able to offer sliding fee discounts. We have resources available to ensure our patients have access to and can afford expensive insulin and COPD medications. Different funds are available to them.”

Now, there are 16 drug companies who want to put restrictions on 340B drugs. And, Reitz is in fear of the program’s future.  She is now involved in the 340B Community Voices, an advocacy group, to educate the public on 340B.

The 340B pricing program requires pharmaceutical companies to provide drugs at a discounted price to 340B entities who in turn, use their 340B savings to serve their communities. First established in 1992 through bipartisan legislation 340B offers a lifeline to the neediest and most underserved patients in this nation.

Over the past 25 years, the 340B program has consistently helped safety net providers meet the unique public health needs of their communities. The pharmaceutical industry is attempting to distract the public from the realities of the program–which expands access to care and improves services for vulnerable patients at no cost to taxpayers.

Community Voices for 340B is a grassroots organization that seeks to raise awareness of the important role that the 340B program plays in protecting communities nationwide.

“It’s a threat to facilities like ours,” Reitz said. “Litigation could go on for years.”

She is involved with Community Voices which support the 340B act (HR 4390). HR 4390 is designed to amend title XXVII of the Public Health Service Act to ensure the equitable treatment of covered entities and pharmacies participating in the 340B drug discount program, and for other purposes.

“It’s exciting to see the progress of the pharmacists carrying on,” said Reitz. “I want to see Family Health grow where there’s a Clinical Pharmacist in each suite.”

Family Health Services is a non-profit Patient Centered Medical Home and Federally Qualified Health Center.

In 1973, it began operations in rural Greenville, and now operates five locations within the county servicing a large elderly population.
Family Health has 216 employees, 47 of which are providers. It serves approximately 27,000 patients resulting in more than 102,000 patient visits.

The health center serves a population of patients of which 22 percent live at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Many of the patients have transportation issues and the free delivery of medications offered is a critical part of overall patient care.

Family health offers: Primary care; OB/GYN; pediatrics; internal medicine; addiction medicine/MAT Clinic; nutrition/weight management; psychiatry/behavioral health; case management; diabetes education; clinical pharmacy; in-house pharmacy; dental; optometry; radiology laboratory; smoking cessation clinic; hypertension clinic; health insurance application counselor; patient assistance advocate; and community services resource.

Its mission is “Building Healthy Lives Together.”

By law and by mission, Family Health Services uses all savings resulting from its participation in 340B to expand its patients’ ability to access medication and other services regardless of their ability to pay.

“Section 330(e) (5) (D) of the Public Health Service Act, as well as the regulations governing our federal grant, require every penny of savings resulting from our participation in 340B is used for purposes that expand access to care for our patient population. This is consistent with our organization mission.”

Family Health Services, as noted before, provides discounted medication pricing to all uninsured patients with incomes at 200 percent of less of FPL through a sliding fee that follow the patients throughout the facility.

The Patient Assistance Advocate helps patients with the process to obtain medication directly from manufacturers. She worked with 290 patients; filling 1,231 prescriptions valued at $2,513,901 last year.

It was reported that without current 340B savings, the following could disappear: Patient assistance, dental, radiology, psychiatry, clinical pharmacy services, residency programs, delivery services, community service resources and diabetic and nutrition services.
According to a spokesperson, “Savings we receive from the 340B program helps Family Health meet these healthcare needs in our community. Congress should preserve and protect the 340B pricing program as an essential part of the safety-net that does not rely on taxpayer dollars.”

Some of the 340B-funded events made possible at Family Health include: diabetes management, controlled substance stewardship, updating technology and medical equipment and supporting provider education programs.

Reitz said this upcoming celebration will not only focus on their longevity, but its reprieve from the strain of COVID and the advocacy of the 360B program and how it’s been effective in Darke County.

“COVID totally changed our world here,” Reitz said. “We have to be careful of our patients’ needs. Everybody is ready to celebrate…ready for some fun and enjoyment. We’ve been planning this for three weeks and it will be held in the Suite 5 parking area.”

Darke County Now Staff - Linda Moody - Staff Writer

Linda Moody / Staff Writer

I am a Darke County native living in the Ansonia area with my son. I have been in journalism 50+ years and enjoy what I do.

Contact Darke County Now Media Correspondent Linda Moody @ lmoody@darkecountynow.com or 937-337-1955.

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