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Hy-Vee acquires pair of telepharmacy locations

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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Hy-Vee Inc. has acquired two telepharmacy locations in Iowa and rebannered them as Hy-Vee Pharmacy.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed. The food and drug retailer said Tuesday that the telepharmacies, formerly operated by TelePharm LLC, now part of Cardinal Health Inc., are in Victor and West Liberty, Iowa, and serve rural communities.

Both Hy-Vee telepharmacy locations, now open, have storefronts and sell over-the-counter health products and convenience items besides dispensing prescriptions. The stores don’t have a full-time pharmacist, but a pharmacist is scheduled to be on-site 16 hours a month.

Grinnell Hy-Vee is the store banner for Victor, while the West Liberty location is named Muscatine Mainstreet Hy-Vee.

Hy-Vee noted that the telepharmacies expand access to rural areas by providing patients with a direct line of communication to a pharmacist without having to leave their community.

Prescriptions are processed similarly to the way they’re handled at a Hy-Vee retail pharmacy, the company said.

The scripts arrive at the pharmacy electronically, by phone or in-person. A pharmacist — on-site or remotely — verifies the prescription for accuracy plus reviews it for appropriate dosing and safety. After the initial verification, a certified pharmacy technician fills it at the telepharmacy location. The pharmacist provides an additional verification by checking the accuracy of the filling process via digital equipment. Pharmacists also can consult with patients via iPad and phone.

“We are thrilled to provide Hy-Vee pharmacy services and maintain a personal pharmacist connection for residents in Victor and West Liberty, Iowa, through our new telepharmacy locations,” Kristin Williams, senior vice president and chief health officer at Hy-Vee, said in a statement. “Enhancing health care for our customers is a top priority, and these locations will fill prescriptions as well as offer additional health and wellness services that Hy-Vee is known for.”

Overall, Hy-Vee operates 17 stand-alone pharmacy locations as well as about 250 food and drug combination stores in eight Midwestern states.

Iowa City-based startup TelePharm, which was founded in 2012 by entrepreneur Roby Miller and had its first location in Victor, was acquired by Cardinal Health in July 2016. Michael Busch, founder of Medicine Shoppe International, who sold the pharmacy chain to Cardinal Health in 1995, had served as TelePharm chairman.


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