Health, News

Health Center receives $1 million for new pharmacy

Project Bread has treated 485 individuals struggling with food insecurity in the last two years through its partnership with the Lynn Community Health Center. (Spenser Hasak)

LYNN — The Lynn Community Health Center (LCHC) will open its new in-house pharmacy Monday morning, funded partially through a $27 million end-of-year federal funding package.

Sixth District Congressman Seth Moulton and Third District Congresswoman Lori Trahan worked alongside Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey to secure $27 million in funding for community projects across the North Shore and Merrimack Valley regions. $1 million of the package was earmarked for the $2.8 million pharmacy’s creation and staffing.

Monday’s opening will mark the first time the nonprofit provides on-site pharmacy service, almost half a century after it first opened its doors on Chestnut Street in 1971.

The 269 Union St. location began construction of the ground floor pharmacy last year with the goal of providing fast and convenient service to its patients.

“So our goal is that you see your provider and you’re able to walk straight downstairs and get your prescription,” said Kim Eng, the center’s chief operating officer. “ Also, with an in-house pharmacy, our pharmacists will have direct access to our providers, so any type of clinical coordination that needs to happen can happen directly,” Eng said.

Eng said that in the future, the facility plans to expand its services, opening a home delivery service as well as blister packaging for medications.

LCHC runs under 340B, a federal government program requiring pharmaceutical companies to sell discounted medicines to healthcare organizations that serve a large number of medicare and medicaid patients.

The health center makes a profit from the discrepancy between the discounted price at which they purchase drugs, and the amount insurance companies are willing to pay for them — these profits are curtailed by the fact that LCHC has to pay a certain percentage to local pharmacies for distribution.

Eng said that an on-site pharmacy will not only create a more convenient patient experience, but will loosen some of the 340B’s financial restrictions, allowing the nonprofit to reinvest in its programs.

“As a community health center, we participate in a 340B program, and by contracting with other pharmacies we’ve been restricted in many ways. This eliminates some of those restrictions,” Eng said.

The facility will have a multilingual staff to accommodate a diverse patient population, Eng said. She added that she was grateful to the state delegation for their assistance with the funding.

“Coordinating with our federal delegation, we’re really grateful to them for advocating for this million dollars that came in the community project funding —it’s huge and really allowed us to build the pharmacy that I think will meet the needs of our community,” Eng said.

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