Pharmacy changes owners

Stephanie Vallez · Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Customers of the West Liberty Pharmacy may have noticed a new sign out front. That’s because Hy-Vee has recently taken ownership of the business.

Matt Schweizer, Store Director at the Hy-Vee in Muscatine, was here to help with the transition.

“We’ve had a great reception,” he said. “It’s been a nice, warm welcome.”

The new sign on the outside will lead to some changes on the inside as well, including lots of new merchandise both behind the counter and throughout the store.

Customers will now have access to Hy-Vee’s generic list and the Repeat Refills program, which automatically gets your regular prescriptions filled without needing to call in advance. Hy-Vee pharmacies also offer vaccinations, like flu shots.  

“We have pet meds now,” Schweizer said, “If anybody has any furry pets at home that need medication.”

Several pharmacists will be overseeing the West Liberty location. Until now it has been a remote dispensing location, which means that there wasn’t always a pharmacist available to speak to inside the store.

Schweizer expects that after the initial transition a Registered Pharmacist will be on site several days per week.

Some new faces may be appearing as the hiring process continues, but some familiar faces will remain behind the counter.

Many of the same staff remain, like Registered Pharmacist Cindy B. and the bilingual Enedelia, who has served West Liberty’s pharmaceutical customers for over 20 years.

The Hy-Vee Pharmacy claims it will offer greater access to its prescription customers.

“If people work out of town they can fill here one day and Iowa City the next,” Schweizer said, noting the importance of versatility within their network and “having options if you need it.”

“Pricing will be, hopefully, a little bit better for people, with us being in a network with a lot more insurance companies than you may have been used to in the past,” Schweizer said. “If that was an issue in the past, now would be a good time to come try it out.”

Schweizer said that the expanded list of insurance companies they work with has already been bringing in new customers.

“Several people have transferred in already who had previously had to go to Iowa City because of their insurance,” he added.

Getting new customers is an important goal for any company, but for Hy-Vee it is not the only goal.  

“One of our big focuses is to keep pharmacy in rural Iowa. These remote locations allow us to do that in a community that may not be able to support a fully staffed pharmacy,” Schweizer said. “Our challenge is to keep these remote pharmacies going and to keep them in these rural communities.”

Schweizer expects the transition will be a success, but there may be hiccups along the way.

He is confident that everything will be running smoothly “once we get settled in and our computers are working the way they should, get our fax machine going,” he said with a laugh, surrounded by unpacked boxes of new merchandise to shelve.   

The reaction from the community has been positive so far. Schweizer is not aware of any customers leaving since the transition began, but several have joined.

“Glad to have Hy-Vee in town,” one customer said to Enedelia as he left, filled prescriptions in hand.

“Thanks for letting us be a part of the community” Schweizer said. “We’re excited about it.”
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