Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mail-order pharmacy opens in Antioch

PromiseCare emphasizes community outreach, savings By Getahn Ward • THE TENNESSEAN • July 29, 2009 A mail-order pharmacy company has set up shop in Antioch with 20 employees, and it hopes to boost that to a total of 200 jobs over two years here. PromiseCare Pharmacy targets senior citizensand others with home delivery of prescription drugs and diabetic and other medical supplies. "We plan to be the one-stop shopping for customers," said Readus C. Smith III, the company's chief executive officer. Smith moved here from West Palm Beach, Fla. There, he was president of the commercial division of a mail-order diabetic supply company. PromiseCare's business includes community outreach, such as through churches at which it organizes health fairs and other educational events. Its community health initiatives division is working with 63 Church of God in Christ congregations across the state on a weight-loss program. Bishop Jerry Maynard, the churches' overseer, has a seat on PromiseCare's board. The company also plans to market through clinics, doctors' offices and managed care plans to which it promises cost savings of up to 25 percent in the first year of service. In addition to the Church of God in Christ, clients include Humana of Florida and TennCare. Sal Giorgianni, an assistant professor at Belmont University's School of Pharmacy, said success of such mail-order pharmacy models is driven by providers' ability to offer counseling and other services along with distributing drugs. "It's a very valuable way to get medications to people — saves them from having to go to the pharmacy — and it's a cost savings as well," Giorgianni said, adding, however, that it's not for everyone because some customers still prefer dealing with in-store pharmacists. Smith said customers would still have an option to pick up prescriptions and other supplies from PromiseCare's pharmacy at 605 Bakertown Road. The roughly 30,000-square-foot operation also houses a call center. Eventually, Smith said he plans to move the call center and PromiseCare's marketing and administrative programs to Gallatin or elsewhere in Middle Tennessee, while keeping its pharmacy and outreach operations in Antioch.

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