Fagen Pharmacy- Getting back to basics – treating each customer’s individual needs

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on April 20, 2016 with No Comments

By Steve Euvino

Pictured left to right: Mike Wichlinski, pharmacist and director of development; Marjie Laciak, PharmD, BC-ADM serves as the Diabetes and Immunization Coordinator; Jim Spanopoulos, pharmacist and compounding specialist; Melissa Fagen, director of marketing and media; Gerald Fagen, president/CEO with wife, Vivian Fagen and John Wendland, retail manager.

Whether it’s offering diabetes education, providing immunizations, or caring for the uninsured, Fagen Pharmacy is working to get back to basics – treating each customer as an individual with unique needs.

“We’re coming into a different way of providing pharmacy care,” said Mike Wichlinski, Fagen pharmacist and director of development. “It’s not about counting pills and putting them in a bottle.”

Fagen continues to fill basic prescriptions, but the Demote-based, family-owned business wants to return to the days when, as Wichlinski put it, “your family pharmacist was like a priest. You had trust and confidence in him.”

  With 24 locations in Indiana and Illinois, the company was founded in 1972 by Gerald Fagen, the company’s president/CEO. Melissa Fagen, his daughter and the company’s director of marketing and media, said being a family-owned business means “it’s all personal for us. It’s about taking care of people the right way.’

Gerald Fagen lost his father at an early age and worked to support his siblings. Employed for a pharmacist in Gary, Fagen saw how his boss cared for his customers and “came to value that,” Melissa Fagen said of her father, who decided to become a pharmacist.

Today, Melissa Fagen said, Fagen Pharmacy is fortunate “to have some very talented people working for us.” Those people are developing new programs and services designed to meet individual needs. One service is pharmacy compounding, through which pharmacists prepare personalized medications for patients.

Jim Spanopoulos, a pharmacist and compounding specialist, explained that compounded medications are made based on a practitioner’s prescription. This method enables the compounding pharmacist to work with the patient and prescriber to customize a medication designed to meet the patient’s specific needs.

Spanopoulos recalled a woman who had been suffering from severe jaw pain for nine years. Working several weeks on her case, Fagen staff provided the practitioner with a working remedy.

From the patient’s email, Spanopoulos learned now, “She is without pain and she’s got her life back.”

Fagen Pharmacy also offers durable medical equipment, including crutches, wheelchairs, braces, and compression hosiery and diabetic footwear. The Valparaiso store features a mastectomy boutique, a private room in which women can be fitted for clothing following breast surgery.

In other health areas, Fagen offers a pre-diabetic prevention program in Porter County, designed to educate people to avoid the disease.

Fagen also provides all Porter County police units, county and municipal, with overdose nasal kits in the event of drug interventions. Since the program began, Wichlinski said, the county has reported more than 30 lives have been saved.

Sarah Oprinovich, a Fagen pharmacist and member of its clinical team, said the company stresses patent-centered care. “We need to be treating the patient,’ she said, “taking care of the individual, taking care of their needs.”

Fagen’s clinical team has been working with self-insured employers to provide clinical services directly to the employer. Services such as flu shots or screenings for blood pressure or cholesterol can be done at the pharmacy or at the employer’s worksite.

Wichlinski said Fagen is also working to drive down employee healthcare costs, especially by focusing on high-risk patients. Examples are diabetics and people with uncontrollable blood pressure issues.

In its diabetes management classes, Oprinovich said, Fagen offers some coaching and reviews medications with patients. “We work with patients and doctors to get [health situations] under control,” she said, noting that conditions such as diabetes can lead to other problems. “When we get these conditions under control, there won’t be other problems, and it will cost less money.”

Fagen’s periodic checks with patients are designed to ensure that patients are taking the correct medications.

Other Fagen services include fitness programs, immunizations that include travel vaccines, intravenous care with hospice, a residency program for pharmacy graduates, and a pilot program with a Porter-Starke Services clinic in Gary to serve the uninsured.

“We’re getting away from the corporate need for numbers,” Wichlinski added. “You take care of the patient, everything else will follow. This has been evident from day one – we’re a patient-centered, not profit-centered, pharmacy.”

For more information on Fagen Pharmacy, visit . Those who purchased the redmond company’s surface tablet will receive a free preview version of office 2013, and once the proper retail edition finally makes an appearance, they’ll be able to upgrade at no extra charge

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