Ever drive home from somewhere, park you car, and hang up your keys only to realize that you don’t remember a single bit of the journey? You are home but you weren’t home just a literal “thought” ago. You obeyed traffic laws, took a sip of your coffee, and navigated yourself back to your door like the capable human you are… but your brain perceived the checkout counter and then immediately your kitchen island with nothing in between. This phenomenon, highway hypnosis, happens to most of us – meaning some of us are doing it at the same time others are. Isn’t that bonkers? We are here to tell you that opening your own pharmacy is mostly just like that. Maybe its more like fighting it off? Anyway, this week our blog is another progress update!
Taking Front Range from a paper business plan to a fully functioning business has occasionally seemed like one giant, blurry time lapse. Yes, some things seem to take forever while some things seem to happen overnight, but when trying to reassemble the timeline in our heads we have to look at each other in disbelief. This week we have paint going on our walls, our overhead utilities are completely finished, and we are prepping our DIY projects for install. At the same time, we are preparing to be inspected by the DEA, contracting with Medicaid, writing our processes and procedures, creating patient intake forms, and preparing our NCPDP profile for third party acceptance. We have been shocked to see the progress in the store, but frustrated with the timelines presented on our insurance contracting front. For an independent pharmacy to contract with various insurers there are many hoops to jump through. You have to be inspected by multiple governing bodies, align yourself with a group of other independent pharmacies, and wait in many many digital queues for the most basic information or update. Luckily we were able to work the state, DEA, and our Pharmacy Services Administration Organization to get this process to overlap our construction – this is huge. Onboarding with each insurer can take 45-60 days, killing a pharmacy’s cash on hand if they are fully constructed and paying those bills with no revenue. Even with all that forethought and an organized approach, we learned that we will not be contracted with CVS/Caremark (a very large insurer) until late Spring. Despite giving them our onboarding documents 65 days ahead of our grand opening, they plan to take 120 days to deliver us a contract that we have zero ability to change or negotiate. We literally just sign it and return it. That is twice as long as any other insurer and the same amount of time it took us to completely build our pharmacy! Setbacks like these are unfortunate and out of our control, so we are pushing forward everything else as fast as we can. This week we ordered lobby furniture, interior signage, and our narcotic safe. We are designing our vial caps, prescription bags, and the boxes for our DayPacks. When the paint drys in the space we are commandeering a scissor lift to install our drop ceilings and pharmacy surround. Shortly after that we are taking the woodshop to S Broadway to install our homemade cabinets and millwork. We are super happy with the way our brand is going to be physically communicated, but we can’t wait to put some personality and service behind it.
Front Range Pharmacy gets more real every single day. We have a grand opening date picked out, but have to wait another week or two to be cleared by the city on a few last inspections. Our construction finishes the second week of March, our tech installs happen immediately after, then we have 2 weeks of training and troubleshooting scheduled. We feel like the last three months have been a whirlwind and we are super grateful for the love and support of our family, friends, and community. Front Range is shaping up to be something neither of us pictured it to be and better than our paper business plan aimed for. Thank you for your encouragement and positivity, we look forward to serving you soon.