Pharmacy resumes operations

After having been closed for nearly three weeks, Stamps Health Services reopened its pharmaceutical services for students on Wednesday, Oct. 24. The primary reason for the close was the resignation of the two full-time and one part-time pharmacists in the same time period.

“We had both the pharmacists resign. What we tried to do for a little while was have…agency pharmacists come in that worked part-time all over the city…but that wasn’t working really well,” said Senior Director of Stamps Health Services Dr. Gregory Moore. “At that point, we said this isn’t working – lets get a new full time pharmacist hired.”

A new full time pharmacist, Nina Thome, who has a background in retail pharmacy, was hired.  With Thome’s employment, the pharmacy is geared to be back up to normal operation by the end of the week.

Last spring, Tech’s Mandatory Student Fee Advisory Committee proposed a $6 increase in the student health fee, this increase was approved by Institute President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, but ultimately rejected by the Board of Regents.

With the rejection, problems have risen over fiscal allocations in Stamps.

“We have to start thinking of how are we going to continue operating. The price of medicine keeps going up, electricity goes up, water goes up, everything goes up and if we’re not going to get the health fee, how are we going to stay financially viable?” Moore said.

Costs have been going up in many other areas for Stamps as well. These variable costs have ranged from IT costs as a result of the new completely electronic medical records, to the amount they are charged as overhead by the Institute and, with some positions, the changes in employee salaries.

“With four years of no raises, our positions were falling behind what you get paid out in Atlanta as…practitioners.” Moore said. “We are going to continue to have to compete with the Atlanta medical market for doctors, nurses and medical assistants.  The longer it goes before salaries go up at Tech, people are going to continue to leave.”

Higher enrollment and constant budgets also mean greater inconvenience for students in scheduling clinical services.

“Bottom line is we’re seeing more patients. There are more people on campus, more students who want to be seen, and so we’re packed everyday, we’re sold out,” Moore said.

In effect, this closing served as an opportunity for Stamps to better determine where they were losing money and where they could make it back.

Moore, as a solution to this financial problem, explained how the pharmacy in Stamps could be made into more of a retail pharmacy to bring in more revenue for necessary expenditures.

“We could sell some of the stuff or perhaps move to taking insurance,” Moore said. “This new [pharmacist] that we’ve hired has been working in retail pharmacy for 10 years so she knows this backwards and forwards…if we decide that is really a place that we’re losing money, we could recoup that.”