As part of the planning process for UVA Health’s first-ever, enterprise-wide 10-year strategic plan, One Future Together I Health and Hope for All, UVA Health leaders solicited community feedback to inform the plan’s ambitious set of strategic goals and initiatives.
At that time, a group of Nellysford, VA-area residents shared that the only retail pharmacy in the area closed in 2019. Since then, citizens of the community of approximately 1,400 — including UVA Health Stoney Creek Family Medicine Clinic patients — have had to travel more than 25 miles one-way to the nearest pharmacy to have their prescriptions filled.
“Imagine having to drive 25 miles to and from a pharmacy when you have a sick child or when you, yourself, are sick with fever and coughing. That’s over an hour round trip in the car when you just want to be home in bed,” explains Kasey Griffith, PharmD, Lead Pharmacist, UVA Health Pharmacy Stoney Creek.
“This pharmacy is going to give patients who live in the Nellsyford areas much easier access to getting their prescriptions. It is critically important to remove barriers to access pharmacy care because if patients can’t easily access a pharmacy, they aren’t going to take their medicine. We can’t make patients take their medicine as prescribed, but we can help remove barriers to make it easier for them to access medications and we can also educate them on the importance of medication compliance.”
In alignment with the strategic plan, UVA Health actively works to identify and remove barriers to care, often responding to direct community feedback as happened in Nellysford, with the goal of increasing access to care and services in support of superior patient outcomes.
UVA Health officials were joined by local community leaders and neighbors to officially open the UVA Health Pharmacy Stoney Creek on Nov. 20. It will provide the highest-quality pharmacy care to patients from the nearby Wintergreen community, as well as those who experience the most severe barriers to pharmacy care, including the small, rural communities surrounding Nellysford, reflecting poverty rates as high as 52% (Lovingston) and 72% (Schuyler).
“Many of our patients, including many residents of the Stoney Creek area, are accustomed to having needs that go unmet. They must often ask for food, shelter, money, security, and other basic needs from those who have it, and they become accustomed to hearing the most common answer — no,” explains Justin L. Vesser, PharmD, MS, Director, Ambulatory Pharmacy at UVA Health. “Our pharmacies may not be able to solve food insecurity, or to pay electric bills, but we have made it our mission that when someone needs a life-saving medication, we always, always try to find a way to say ‘yes!’”
Danielle Griggs, PharmD, MBA, MS, UVA Health’s Chief Pharmacy Officer applauds the collaboration required to launch the UVA Health Pharmacy Stoney Creek: “We are excited to be opening the pharmacy in Stoney Creek. This is the result of hard work from many teams including Facilities, HIT, Finance, and Compliance, in addition to the pharmacy team.”