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Publix Pharmacy and the not-for-profit BayCare Health System have formed an exclusive partnership to improve the delivery of health care to residents of Florida’s Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk counties. The collaboration initially includes BayCare branded telehealth sites at various Publix stores, BayCare screening stations at all Publix stores and on-site Publix Pharmacies at five BayCare hospitals.
“Through this agreement, we will not only be able to provide BayCare medical expertise to Publix customers seeking non-urgent medical care, but we will also be able to bring Publix’s premier service to BayCare’s patients,” noted Publix VP of Pharmacy Operations Fred Ottolino.
“This collaboration between medical care and pharmacy also furthers the longtime BayCare commitment to connect the many different aspects of health care in an efficient manner that improves both patient health and the care experience,” said Glenn Waters, EVP/COO of Clearwater-based BayCare Health System, which connects individuals and families to services at 14 hospitals and hundreds of other locations throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions. “We are very focused on helping individuals access the right level of care in the right place, and this collaboration does just that.”
Under the agreement, BayCare becomes Publix’s exclusive health care and telehealth collaborator in the four Florida counties named above. Consisting of private room with teleconferencing and medical diagnostic equipment, the telehealth sites enable patients to speak directly via video-conferencing technology with a board-certified physician through BayCare’s physician network. The physician can direct the patient to use the available diagnostic tools to make a diagnosis and write any necessary prescriptions. Publix Pharmacy support staff will help patients, if necessary. Fees to use the telehealth site are expected to in line with a normal doctor’s office copay, with no appointments needed. The locations and opening dates of these sites are to be determined.
Additionally, BayCare patients will be able to check their blood pressure and perform other screenings at the in-store health-and-wellness kiosks — known as higi stations — and send the results directly to their BayCare physician at no extra cost.
As well as these new services within its stores, Publix will buy, renovate and operate four existing on-site BayCare hospital retail pharmacies at St. Joseph’s Hospital, in Tampa; Mease Countryside Hospital, in Safety Harbor; Morton Plant Hospital, in Clearwater; and St. Anthony’s Hospital, in St. Petersburg. A fifth Publix Pharmacy will be located at Winter Haven Hospital. The grocer also will provide free, bedside prescription delivery services to patients at all BayCare hospital locations.
Publix and BayCare expect to finalize the details of the collaboration by the end of the year, although they anticipate that all of the components could be completed within the next four months.
Privately owned and operated by its 200,000 employees, Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix has 1,144 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina.