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CareOregon expands pharmacy access through self-serve prescription lockers

Jun 7, 2024, 18:14 PM
Collaboration with network partners leads to pick-up lockers at convenient locations in the Portland metro area, Northwest Oregon and Jackson County

Portland, Ore., June 7, 2024 — Pharmacy closures through the state of Oregon have made it tougher for patients to access their prescriptions. CareOregon announced today that it is supporting several pharmacy providers in installing self-serve, prescription-pickup lockers throughout its service areas. In all, six lockers – serviced by local independent pharmacies and Federally Qualified Health Centers – will be installed under the pilot program. Several are already in service.

The goal is to improve access for patients. The shuttering of all Bi-Mart in-store pharmacies, many Rite Aid stores and some independent operators, such as Tillamook Pharmacy, has put added pressure on existing pharmacies and reduced access to care for customers.

In response, CareOregon has been working with pharmacy partners to find ways to support them and explore ideas to provide better access to medications and new service options for consumers. The pharmacy locker pilot project grew out of those discussions.

“CareOregon prioritizes equitable access to health care for our members,” said Eric C. Hunter, President and Chief Executive Officer of CareOregon. “With reduced pharmacy options, we know it is important to explore new options to improve our members’ pharmacy experience. We’re excited to pilot this project and deliver patients a critical new option to access the medications they need to be healthy.”

Supplied by California-based vendor iLocalBox, the pickup lockers are leased and managed by the pharmacy partners in the pilot. CareOregon is covering the locker startup costs for the first year. The lockers supplement existing services by providing alternative pickup sites. To protect patient privacy and secure medications, each user receives a unique access code that opens only the box containing their prescription(s). Through video conferencing, patients may connect with a remote pharmacist, a feature that helps ensure they get the same level of support they would receive in a traditional pharmacy setting. Questions about specific lockers should be directed to the pharmacies managing them.

Portland’s @Pharmacy.com is among the independent pharmacies participating in the pilot program. @Pharmacy.com operates pickup lockers at its store on Southeast 82nd Avenue and at Kirkland Union Manor, a senior-housing community.

Jasmine Nguyen, PharmD, owner and operator of @Pharmacy.com, says the locker at Southeast 82nd Avenue has become especially popular with patients whose work schedules make it difficult for them to visit the store during regular operating hours. The locker at Kirkland Union Manor, she added, allows residents to pick up prescriptions without having to leave the property. Staff members have been trained to use the locker to assist residents if needed.

“I’m hoping that the lockers will become even more popular once people become more comfortable using them,” said Nguyen.

iLocalBox lockers are open or opening in the following locations:

Portland metro area

Kirkland Union Manor, 3530 SE 84th Ave., Portland (serviced by @Pharmacy.com|82nd Avenue)

@Pharmacy.com, 5253 SE 82nd Ave., unit 27, Portland. (Locker moving in July 2024 to @Pharmacy.com’s new Hillsboro location, 243 E. Main St., Hillsboro)

Neighborhood Health Center - Tanasbourne Medical + Dental Clinic, 10690 NE Cornell Road, Hillsboro, (service slated to start in June 2024)

Tillamook County

Nehalem Bay Health Center & Pharmacy, 230 Rowe St., Wheeler 

Jackson County

Rogue Community Health, 722 Laurel Ave., Butte Falls (service estimated to start in 2024) East of North Central Avenue and north of East McAndrews Road (serviced by Cascade Pharmacy), Medford (service estimated to start in 2024)

Note: The exact location for the second unit in Jackson County had yet to be determined as of early June. It will be managed by Cascade Pharmacy.

About CareOregon

CareOregon is a nonprofit community benefit organization that provides health care coverage to more than 500,000 Oregonians on the Oregon Health Plan. Now in our 30th year, we support our members through three coordinated care organizations, a Medicare Advantage plan, a tribal care coordination program, a dental care organization and in-home medical care with Housecall Providers. CareOregon members have access to integrated physical, dental and mental health care and substance use treatment. We also connect members to housing, fresh food, education and transportation services. CareOregon has offices in Portland, Medford and Seaside, Oregon.

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