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Yost Pharmacy: Past and present meet


Dave Yost and Sarah McClain have community pharmacy in their blood. Their grandfather opened Yost Pharmacy — which they now own and operate — on Main Street in Mason, Ohio, in 1945. In the ensuing 71 years, the pharmacy has become a pillar of the community in ways that go beyond the doors of the pharmacy. Drug Store News spoke with Yost and McClain about their family’s dedication to community pharmacy and how they protect Yost Pharmacy’s legacy while meeting patient needs in the 21st century.

DSN: Why did you take up pharmacy and continue the family business?

Sarah McClain: I think a lot of it revolves around seeing the community involvement and being part of what at that time was a very small town — seeing it grow and be able to continue to have those local connections and that community feeling — and to see the business make a real impact on people’s lives.

DSN: What position would you say Yost Pharmacy occupies in your community, and what sorts of impact are you able to have as a result of that position?

Dave Yost: You kind of become a community staple when you’re around for three generations and when you’re in one place for over 70 years. We haven’t changed locations, and there’ve been a few remodels over the years. But the building stays basically the same — and you just become a fixture of the community, so you support the other things that go in the community like the sports teams and the theater. Your relationships with physicians become entrenched. When they have a question, they pick up the phone and call you as opposed to the new store that pops in or the CVS around the corner that maybe hasn’t been around as long.

As far as our place in the community, it’s that feeling that you become a fixture in the community and you touch everything just a bit. Obviously, we have a big role in the medical piece, but you just kind of become part of the everyday landscape of people’s lives. So when you grow up in it, you’re a part of that. It kind of just becomes a part of you, and it’s something that makes you want to keep it going.

DSN: What services have you introduced recently to help meet your community’s needs?

McClain: We have a number of services. We offer a delivery service, and that’s not a new service. It’s something we’ve always done, but it certainly has grown significantly as the demand for that increases. I think as the demographics have changed, there are more people who have challenges getting to the pharmacy and need that delivery. We provide a lot of medical equipment that’s not readily available from other pharmacies in the area, as well as vaccination services and compliance packaging. We also work with a number of the local assisted living and nursing facilities to meet some of the needs of their patients.

DSN: You mentioned that you’ve offered delivery for some time — what other sorts of legacy services are still in use today?

Yost: One of the biggest services is compounding. It’s definitely something that was standard practice for pharmacy when our grandfather started, and then it sort of became less popular. We kept doing it through that decline in popularity, and now it’s made a nice comeback. Being able to compound individual dosage forms to meet specific patient needs is increasing in demand as the drug pipeline is slowing down. Just today, I had two prescriptions faxed from chain pharmacies that either couldn’t do it or didn’t want to mess with it.  

Delivery also is certainly something that, again, was on a much smaller scale throughout the three generations — and we do more of it now than we ever did — but it’s something we’ve done throughout our tenure. And just as with general pharmacy — the over the counter items, the bandaging, the specialty devices — those kinds of things have always been a niche for our business. They’ve waxed and waned depending on the needs of the community, but it’s something we’ve always done.

DSN: What Cardinal Health solutions do you use to run your pharmacy?

Yost: We use the Cardinal Health Inventory Manager (CIM). That piece has really helped control our inventory, which helps our cash flow and allows us to reinvest in the business so we can hire people we need to deliver these extra services or get new technology that we need to execute the increased volume demand. It frees up cash in case we need another delivery car or something — it’s some money in the bank because you’ve got a graduate-level type of inventory management working on your behalf. It’s something we couldn’t put together on our own, for sure.

We also take advantage of the RCS dashboard, which helps monitor our claims that are underwater and losing money. It helps monitor patients who aren’t adherent. When it comes to Star ratings, we can identify the patients a little easier through the dashboard, and we can reach out to them and try to get their compliance up. It helps us make sure we’re maximizing our insurance reimbursement. We also use the Reconciliation Complete to monitor our payments and make sure we’re collecting all the billables we have out to third parties. The other piece is the level of service we get from our local sales representatives. They’re ultra-attentive to our needs and responsive, which is a contrast to what we were getting with the supplier we used before Cardinal Health.

DSN: What is the most important feature of a community pharmacy?

Yost: It’s genuine relationships and personalized service. We try to accommodate, as best we can, all the individual needs of our patients, which can be a challenge as your patient population grows. But people respond to that, and your business grows — you just have to meet the challenge of meeting everyone’s needs. That’s how community pharmacies survive. They are creative, and they find a way to make it work. So whether it’s our store or other community pharmacies, the thing that’s important is the personalized service and the relationships you build with your patients. You can identify your patients by name. When they walk through the door, and you know they’re eligible for some extra service, you can ask them right there. You don’t have to drag them in for an appointment with someone they’ve never met before, and they tend to be a lot more honest and forthright with you. It just means you can take better care of them because it’s a much healthier atmosphere.


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