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NEWS | May 4, 2020

Medical professionals join forces at the pharmacy

By Airman 1st Class Marcus M. Bullock 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Normal operations on Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, have taken a back seat while service members and the community adjust to combat the spread of COVID-19.

As part of this adjustment, the JBLE Satellite Pharmacy implemented procedures to keep everyone safe while still accomplishing the mission day-in and day-out. Helping the pharmacy meet the demand, members from various medical professions teamed up to help alleviate the heavy workload.

To expedite the process of acquiring prescriptions, pharmacy technicians and members from organizations such as pediatrics and the dental squadron have stepped up as runners, greeting patients outside of the facility to gather information and deliver prescriptions.

“I enjoy my job being able to help out patients,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kayla Billings, 633rd Dental Squadron dental assistant. “It’s a lot of fun to interact with different people like the veterans, the patients are always in a really good mood and we try to help them out the best way that we can.”

According to U.S. Air Force Capt. James Holt, 633rd Medical Support Squadron satellite pharmacy chief, a large portion of the satellite pharmacy patrons are retirees and their dependents. The satellite pharmacy averaged approximately 4,000 prescriptions per week coming out to roughly 340 patients per day before implementing these COVID-19 preventative measures. After initiating drive-thru procedures, the pharmacy saw patient traffic increase to approximately 4,800 prescriptions per week or 500 patients per day.

Pulling members from other medical units allowed the pharmacy to train these other unit members quickly because medical professionals receive similar training in terms of obtaining patient information.

“Luckily since we are all medical, our training overlaps a little bit,” Billings said. “We know we have to get specific information from each patient so we don’t mix up anything because we don’t want anyone to get the wrong prescription.”

According to Holt, utilizing members from other units along with pharmacy technicians have allowed for successful services at the Satellite Pharmacy.

“The first week of servicing retirees on Mondays and Tuesdays we dispensed 3,000 prescriptions to 1,800 patients in two days,” Holt said. “Not only did we get the patients through the drive-thru quickly, but more importantly, we did it safely with zero dispensing errors.”

With COVID-19 restrictions in place, Holt commended the Satellite Pharmacy staff for their hard work and efficient adaptation to new policies and procedures.

“The positive attitude, constancy of purpose, flexibility, and singular focus on safe patient care of the entire staff is what made this possible,” Holt said. “They exemplify the USAF healthcare culture. They are adaptable, they care, and they are compassionate. I am both proud and honored to work for the Satellite Pharmacy team.”

Continue to monitor the JBLE Facebook page and for any updates concerning the Satellite Pharmacy or other services on the installation and remember, ‘Stay Home and Stay Safe’.