Back to Top Skip to main content

MHS pharmacies adapt services amid COVID-19

A pharmacy technician stands at a car window delivering medications while wearing a mask and gloves. PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Airman 1st Class Grant Alvarez, 21st Logistics Readiness Squadron (left) and Capt. Lorna Neeley, 21st Medical Group, assist customers at the new drive-thru pharmacy located at the Peterson base exchange parking lot. This new procedure is being used to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Air Force photo by Craig Denton)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health

Pharmacies across the Military Health System are adapting their prescription services to protect high-risk patients and pharmacy customers and staff from COVID-19 exposure. Responding to Defense Health Agency guidance on prescribing during COVID and state and local stay-at-home and social-distancing requirements, pharmacies are finding ways to get patients their prescriptions with minimal patient-staff interaction. Each pharmacy tailors solutions to fit their physical layout, staffing capacity, and patient populations, resulting in what one patient described as “great, innovative ideas for short-term solutions.”

In Florida, Naval Hospital Pensacola added four staff per lane to its drive-thru pharmacy. Two of these gather information at car windows and radio inside to two filling prescriptions. This process allows the busy pharmacy to safely dispense up to 1,200 prescriptions a day. And Naval Hospital Jacksonville uses a “parking lobby” system to assign cars a numbered spot where patients can park until the prescription is delivered to them. 

Female soldier wearing a mask handing a bag to a woman in a car
SrA Reanne Kohlus, a dental technician assigned to the 59th Dental Group, hands a prescription over to a beneficiary March 30, 2020, at Joint Base San Antonio- Lackland, Texas. 

At Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, patients pick up prescriptions curbside in the loop in front of the hospital, or they can have their prescriptions delivered to the bus stop close by, which offers a shaded area and a view of the Caribbean.

Facilities worldwide worked quickly to change services as the pandemic progressed. For example, Brooke Army Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio created a curbside pharmacy in less than 48 hours. 

“My team took this crisis very seriously and stepped up to do what was needed to ensure the safety of the patients visiting the pharmacy,” said Army Col. (Dr.) Stacey Causey, chief of the pharmacy department at Brooke Army Medical Center, Texas

Joint Base Andrews in Maryland set up a parking garage staging area. Patients turn on their car blinkers to let staff know they are picking up prescriptions. Staff “runners” then take the patient’s information and retrieve prescriptions from the staging area. And after base access was restricted for retirees at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico, the pharmacy began holding point of dispensing days in the visitor control center. Staff and volunteers help with the “contactless” process of putting prescriptions in a bag on the hood or roof of retirees’ cars. 

Regardless of the method, each facility finds ways to maintain prescription safety protocols. At Jacksonville, parking lobby staff compare the prescriptions to the patient’s electronic health record in the pharmacy, confirm the patient's location in the parking lobby at a staging tent, and then take the prescriptions to the patient’s car for dispensing. Before dispensing, staff ask patients for two patient identifiers and use a portable cart to perform the “show and tell” method, showing patients the medicine as they explain directions for how to use.

Many pharmacies also added enhancements for efficiency, such as text messaging to notify patients when their prescriptions are ready or, in the case of Naval Hospital Pensacola, an app to submit refill requests. 

Patients across the MHS are sending their appreciation for the “super service” in customer evaluations and in comments on hospitals’ Facebook pages. 

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland has received “great feedback” on their curbside refill pharmacy which has served nearly 1,500 beneficiaries since they implemented it on March 27. 

"We've had great feedback in the utilization of our CSA [Centralized Screening Area] tent, as well as our curbside refill pharmacy, which moved from the NEX [Navy Exchange store] to the horseshoe driveway in front of the America Building," stated Army Col. (Dr.) Andrew Barr, director of WRNMMC.

And on Guantanamo’s Facebook page, a patient posted “thanks, and shoutout to the pharmacy, that’s a well-oiled machine … my pickup was painless. It made my self-quarantine possible just having to go from house to car back to house. Thank you, Hospital!”

You also may be interested in...

Genetic sequence data for SARS-CoV-2

Infographic
6/5/2020
Infographic describing how DoD was able to conduct genome sequencing on the COVID-19 virus

Genetic sequence data for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes #COVID19, plays a vital role in force health protection efforts within the DoD. To jumpstart sequencing efforts, the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch's Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response applied a collaborative approach to sequencing capabilities. Resulting sequence data will provide critical information about transmission patterns, track diagnostic effectiveness, and guide the development and evaluation of medical countermeasures.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Coronavirus | Global Emerging Infections Surveillance

DoD Establishes Collaborative Virus Genetic Sequencing Capability for COVID-19

Article
6/5/2020
Image of two scientists in masks looking at a computer monitor

COVID-19 sequencing process will provide military commanders and other DoD leadership with critical information to guide force health protection decision-making.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Coronavirus | Global Emerging Infections Surveillance

Putting talent to work

Article
6/5/2020
Three military personnel wearing masks

One seamstress took it upon herself to create face coverings for her colleagues.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

WRNMMC Operates Drive-Up Immunization Clinic

Article
6/3/2020
Nurse giving a shot to a girl; both wearing masks

Parents and others (are encouraged) to maintain their immunization health during COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Immunization Healthcare

TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) Health Plan Reinstatement During COVID-19 National Emergency

Fact Sheet
6/2/2020

Fact sheet explaining that explaining that TRICARE Reserve Select beneficiaries now have five months to reinstate terminated coverage after their last paid-through date before a 12-month lockout period will apply.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | TRICARE Changes and You

The 150th Security Forces Squadron supports NM COVID-19 response effort

Article
5/29/2020
Group of military personnel posting for a picture

The 150th Security Forces Squadron and the New Mexico National Guard’s Joint Task Force COVID-19 are providing support that may not otherwise be available to New Mexico communities and their citizens.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Building Your Mental Health Through Resiliency

Article
5/29/2020
Soldier walking through a maze

Being able to think about things from a different perspective is critical.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

DoD experts address COVID-19 effects on mental health

Article
5/29/2020
Image of soldier wearing a mask

As the world adjusts to a new normal, here’s how to keep mentally healthy.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

DoD launches effort to collect COVID-19 convalescent plasma

Article
5/29/2020
Image of man wearing mask and giving blood

Plasma donations needed in the fight against COVID-19

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

DOD COVID-19 Survivor Gives Shoutout to Doctors, Plasma Donors

Article
5/29/2020
Image of soldier sitting on a bench with flowers and a balloon

Bright was the first person in the District of Columbia to receive convalescent plasma.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

MHS Minute: Military Leading the Charge on COVID-19 Research

Video
5/28/2020
Image of MHS Minute Carousel

The military continues to serve on the front lines of research and treatment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tune in to the MHS Minute to learn more.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

'Home sweet home' leaves a sour taste for some quarantine-weary

Article
5/28/2020
Family playing board game

Mental health professionals offer tips on managing during uncertain times

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Mental Health Care | Mental Wellness

USU Aids Health Care Providers, Community in Pandemic

Article
5/27/2020
Image of two healthcare workers looking sad

USU’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress provides fact sheets as a resource for providers and the community.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health

Regional Health Command-Atlantic staff treat COVID-19 patients at NJ hospital

Article
5/27/2020
Three people in scrubs around a patient on a hospital bed

The officers assigned to the program were selected because they have medical specialties typically used in military forward surgical teams.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Force Health Protection Guidance (Supplement 9) -Department of Defense Guidance for Deployment and Redeployment of Individuals and Units during the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

Publication
5/26/2020

This memorandum provides force health protection (FHP) deployment and redeployment guidance for Service members (including Reserve Component (RC) and National Guard members in a title 10 or title 32 duty status) and DoD civilian employees deploying within and outside the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic, consistent with references (a) and (b).

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 32

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.