H. D. Smith gave Palliative Care Pharmacy a flexible and tailored partnership in order to meet its unique business needs.

About Palliative Care Pharmacy

When Mike Sever isn’t speaking at palliative care conferences or teaching students from the University of Florida College of Pharmacy or the College of Central Florida, this accomplished instructor can be found managing Palliative Care Pharmacy and offering unmatched patient care and expertise.

As part of Hospice of Marion County in Ocala, Florida, Palliative Care Pharmacy provides a range of services and support to its 350-400 hospice patient population.  Prior to 1999, Hospice of Marion County utilized a local pharmacy on a contract basis, but over time, recognized the need to increase clinical oversight and reduce clinical formulary costs.  Palliative Care Pharmacy became a fully integrated part of the hospice business 15 years ago, with Mike leading the team as full-time pharmacy manager.

Mike works closely with the facility’s healthcare team of six physicians, two part-time physicians and 60 nurses to develop, guide, and review the patient formulary and oversee the medication-usage guidelines.  Because of the unique hospice setting, Mike’s role as a pharmacist often expands to encompass other patient services, including patient education, pain and symptom management consultations, and clinical support services for Hospice of Marion County patients and their families.

Among the many services offered at Palliative Care Pharmacy, patients receive free prescription delivery both on-site at four state-of-the-art hospice houses as well as to their private homes.  Vaccinations are also offered to hospice staff and patients.

The Relationship

In order to provide a wide range of services and the highest quality patient care, Palliative Care Pharmacy relies on a steady and supportive wholesale partnership.  However, when Mike received a surprising call, the stability he once depended on ended abruptly. “Our previous wholesaler called me up one day and said ‘we’re ending our relationship with you,’” Mike said. “For over ten years we had an excellent working relationship with them and did everything that was ever asked of us, but unfortunately, they were no longer interested in our business and there was nothing we could do.”

With patients in need and no time to waste, Mike was feeling pressured to fill the void left by this abandonment.  “As you can imagine, I was really stressed out,” said Mike. “We had been cut off by our supplier, but our patients were still being admitted and still depended on us.  I was starting to panic.”

Shortly after his search for a new wholesaler began, Mike was introduced to H. D. Smith in November of 2013. 

“Our sales rep stepped right in and took a close look at our situation,” said Mike. “From day one she was so responsive and moved quickly to help us work out an agreement, and we’ve never looked back.”

Although the partnership is still new, Mike is already enjoying the benefits of being an H. D. Smith customer. “My deliveries are on time, and I love the ordering system, especially the list of alternatives and current stock statuses,” said Mike. “I mastered the ordering system within the first day because it’s so intuitive, and CSOS was set up just wonderfully. At one point I managed to screw it up, but I made a quick call and the issue was resolved immediately.”

Mike also appreciates H. D. Smith’s flexibility and willingness to make adjustments to meet his unique business needs. “A hospice-only pharmacy isn’t your run-of-the-mill customer,” said Mike. “We’ve requested several changes in stock levels for medications that are really important for us and our patients. Each one of our requests has been responded to wonderfully, and everyone has been so responsive and flexible – the best of both worlds.”

The Future

“I want this to be a long-term relationship, and I have no desire to do anything different or look for other wholesalers,” said Mike. “We’re really pleased with the way things are, and I hope it continues.”

We warmly welcome Palliative Care Pharmacy to the H. D. Smith family and look forward to building upon this strong foundation for many years.