Your Questions Answered – Pharmacy Updates for Florence

PeaceHealth Column for the Siuslaw News

March 19, 2022 — In this column, experts at PeaceHealth Peace Harbor Medical Center address current health issues and topics impacting our amazing Florence community. We hope you find it informative. If you have any suggestions for topics, please send them to Dr. Willy Foster at [email protected]. 

The second article in this series provides an update on the pharmacy and prescription situation in Florence since the Bi-Mart pharmacy closed. 

Local businesses continue to face staffing challenges and our pharmacies are no exception. Although wait times to pick up prescriptions have improved over the past three months, community members continue to experience wait times of five to seven days for prescriptions to be filled and long lines at pharmacy counters. 

Here are a few steps that community members can take to improve the overall situation. 

First and foremost, contact your community pharmacy to request refill prescriptions a minimum of seven to 10 days before you plan to pick them up. Next, stay in close communication with your community pharmacy. Checking ahead that your prescriptions are ready to be picked up before you join the line will decrease the time that you, and others, must wait. 

We’ve been asked a lot of pharmacy-related questions since the Bi-Mart pharmacy closed. Here are answers to some of the most common questions. 

I am a PeaceHealth patient and I need a refill, what should I do?

Contact your community or mail-order pharmacy directly to request prescription refills a minimum of seven to 10 days ahead of the time you will need them. Allow more time if you have no refills available. When no refills are available, your pharmacy will contact your doctor to request additional refills. Many community and mail-order pharmacies provide on-line prescription refill request and automated phone messaging systems for your convenience. Using these tools helps pharmacies better manage prescription requests by improving efficiency to quickly address your needs.  

Normally I called the pharmacy directly, can I still do that?

Yes, and it is important to stay in close communication with your pharmacy. When pharmacy staff are not immediately available to answer the phone, please leave a detailed phone message and include whether you do or do not require a return call. If a return call is required, provide the phone number the pharmacy should use. Most community pharmacies are responding to phone messages within one to two days.

I heard local pharmacies are not accepting new patients, is that true?

All Florence community pharmacies are accepting new patients and new prescriptions. However, response times may be delayed, particularly if you are transferring your prescriptions from one pharmacy to another. Community pharmacies are prioritizing new prescriptions received from Peace Harbor Medical Center’s emergency, surgery, and other hospital care areas to ensure patients returning home will have access to their medications within one to three hours, on average. 

What is the status of the Rite-Aid pharmacy?

The Florence Rite-Aid pharmacy has resolved its staffing issues and is now open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. They plan to resume regular hours, which will include weekends, as soon as possible. Rite-Aid prescription volumes are beginning to return to normal levels, which has begun to relieve some of the demand on other community pharmacies. 

Can I still pick up my prescriptions from community pharmacies on weekends?

To address staffing challenges, community pharmacies in Florence have temporarily reduced their business hours. Current hours of operation at local pharmacies are as follows:

  • Fred Meyer Pharmacy: Open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. There is often a waiting line with limited seating. If you have difficulty standing for any period, consider sending someone to wait in line on your behalf. Fred Meyer also offers a mail order service. If you are interested in mail order, please speak to a staff member. 

  • Florence Hi-School Pharmacy: Monday through Friday, the lobby is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.; and the drive-up window is open 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Saturdays, the drive-up window is open 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and the pharmacy lobby remains open until 3 p.m. 

  • Rite-Aid Pharmacy: Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Despite rising prescription volumes, wait times to pick up prescriptions from either the drive-up window or in-store counter are manageable.

  • Safeway Pharmacy: Open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The Bi-Mart pharmacy sent most of its business to Safeway, so there is often a line to pick up prescriptions. Consider sending someone to wait in line for you if standing for any period is difficult. 

Can I get my prescriptions transferred back to Rite-Aid or to a different pharmacy?

When asked, pharmacies will often complete the transfer of any remaining prescription refills to your preferred pharmacy. However, some pharmacies in the area are unable to transfer prescriptions currently due to work volumes. When this is the case, your doctor can send prescriptions to a new pharmacy for you. The best approach is to speak to your doctor about your prescription needs and preferred pharmacy during your next appointment. You can also request prescription transfers via My PeaceHealth (click messages, send a message, medical question, then prescription question) or by calling 541-997-7134. Allow 14 days to complete prescription transfer requests and to give insurance time to process.

If I have more questions, can I talk to someone at Peace Harbor Medical Center?

Please call 541-997-7134 and leave a message for our prescription assistance team. Please be prepared to wait on hold due to an increase in phone calls. We apologize for the inconvenience.

As always, our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our patients. PeaceHealth is here to help guide you through these challenges to ensure you have access to much-needed medications.

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