Publix Pharmacy and BayCare Health System have announced an exclusive collaboration to improve the delivery of healthcare to the residents of Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk counties in Florida. The partnership initially includes BayCare-branded telehealth sites in various Publix locations, BayCare screening stations in all Publix locations and Publix Pharmacies on-site at five BayCare hospital locations.
In addition to these new services within its stores, Publix will purchase, renovate and operate four existing on-site BayCare hospital retail pharmacies at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Tampa; Mease Countryside Hospital, Safety Harbor; Morton Plant Hospital, Clearwater; and St. Anthony’s Hospital, St. Petersburg. A fifth Publix Pharmacy will be built in Winter Haven Hospital. Lakeland-based Publix says it also will provide free, bedside prescription delivery services to patients at all BayCare hospital locations.
“This is a very exciting collaboration for both Publix and BayCare,” said Publix VP of Pharmacy Operations Fred Ottolino. “Through this agreement, we will not only be able to provide BayCare medical expertise to Publix customers seeking non-urgent medical care, but we will also be able to bring Publix’s premier service to BayCare’s patients.”
Added Glenn Waters, EVP and COO of BayCare Health System, “BayCare is extremely pleased to enter into this agreement with Publix because we share the core value of excellence. This collaboration between medical care and pharmacy also furthers the long-time BayCare commitment to connect the many different aspects of healthcare in an efficient manner that improves both patient health and the care experience. We are very focused on helping individuals access the right level of care in the right place and this collaboration does just that.”
The agreement makes BayCare Publix’s exclusive healthcare and telehealth collaborator within the four-county geographic region. The telehealth sites will have a private room with teleconferencing and medical diagnostic equipment, including stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, high-definition cameras and other tools necessary for common diagnoses. The telehealth sites allow patients to speak directly via video conferencing technology with a board-certified physician through BayCare’s physician network. The physician can direct the patient to use the available diagnostic tools in order to make a diagnosis and write any necessary prescriptions. Publix Pharmacy support staff will be available to assist patients, if needed. Fees to use the telehealth site are expected to be competitive with a normal doctor’s office co-pay, and appointments will not be needed. The locations and opening dates of the telehealth sites are to be determined.
Another component of the collaboration will enable BayCare patients to test their blood pressure and perform other screenings on the in-store health and wellness kiosks—known as higi stations—and send their screening results directly to their BayCare physician at no extra fee.
Publix and BayCare say they have committed to finalize the details of the collaboration by the end of the year but anticipate that all of the components could be completed within the next four months.