By Lt. Cmdr. Angie Klinski, Pharmacy Department Head, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton
I have served as a Navy pharmacist for more than 10 years and am committed to providing safe and quality pharmaceutical care through continuous process improvements.
In the short span of my career as a Navy pharmacist, I have had the opportunity to work at some of the busiest pharmacies serving our beneficiaries, including Naval Medical Center San Diego and Naval Hospital Okinawa, Japan. Filling prescriptions at these military treatment facilities (MTFs) are the least expensive option for our TRICARE patients and result in the significant volume processed at every site.
With the number of prescriptions processed increase every year, each MTF is constantly striving to improve its efficiencies to minimize a customer’s waiting time all while ensuring the medication is accurately and safely dispensed. Some initiatives used to optimize pharmacy services include leveraging the satellite pharmacies as points of access. Since the pharmacies computer systems are linked locally, prescriptions entered into one pharmacy can be picked up at any one of the other pharmacies.
For example, the main pharmacy at the Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton processes an average of 1,200 prescriptions a day and keeps a busy pace. Oftentimes, during our peak periods between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., wait times may increase to over 30 minutes.
Several efforts toward increasing convenience for our customers was to leverage our satellite locations at branch health clinics both on and off base. These locations are more accessible, have better parking and offer similar services as the main pharmacy. Here at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, all of our pharmacies were recently remodeled and the pharmacy at the local off-base clinic expanded when it relocated, allowing the inventory to be optimized and to carry the most popularly prescribed medications. Another added convenience was the opening of a drive-thru site to pick up refilled prescriptions where no hunt for parking is required.
Filling prescriptions at any MTF is the most inexpensive option for eligible beneficiaries. For most medications, you can receive a 90-day supply at no cost. Another pharmacy benefit option that many are unaware of is the home delivery option where prescriptions can be sent directly to your home at minimal out-of-pocket costs. For more information on Home Delivery visit www.tricare.mil/homedelivery or 877-782-8731.