I am the owner and pharmacist at Atwood Pharmacy. We are also a new business and family owned. My wife and I are both pharmacists and have been working on the front lines since the start of the pandemic. Since opening in Johnston 6 months ago, we have gotten to meet many of you from the community and are very grateful for your ongoing support.
Today, we continue to put ourselves at risk like all healthcare workers by making ourselves available to the community’s healthcare needs, which in the past few weeks has been a very high demand for testing. We have been trying our best to provide testing services that our patients are desperately searching for when they are not able to find an appointment anywhere else for days. Given the increased traffic, we are continuing to do our best to be accommodating to our neighbors and community by having ongoing discussions with the town and the Johnston Police Department.
We are currently paying out of pocket ($95/hour) to have the police department oversee and direct traffic in order to accommodate our neighbors and the surrounding community which as you can imagine has been financially challenging. We have also limited our testing hours. As for the pricing, we do not charge anything for the PCR test which is covered through your insurance or through the state if you are uninsured. We do charge a small fee for the rapid test which is the norm for all independent pharmacies with other sites charging up to more than twice as much.
There is no way to bill the rapid test currently and therefore we provide you with a receipt that some patients have been successfully able to submit to their insurances for reimbursement. Most patients opt to take the rapid test by choice and pay for it out of pocket for convenience and quick results while they await their PCR results. We have been operating without appointments for vaccines or testing since we opened since we are a small business and were able to accommodate our patients and only recently have had such high traffic due to the increased demand for testing across the state and the country with a significant rise in cases.
We did not expect this and will continue to search for solutions and be willing to make changes with the needs of the community such as considering switching to an appointment system if necessary. Some changes we will make this week include stopping drive-thru testing altogether as it is contributing to a lot of the traffic as well as further limiting our hours. We were keeping drive-thru testing as an option especially for patients who are symptomatic and those with special needs or young children.
This has been a very difficult and trying time for all but we will continue to work with you to help keep the community healthy and safe!
Dr. Zahan Akbar
Pharmacist and owner of Atwood Pharmacy
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