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Pharmacist: Fereshteh (Fay) Ejtemai, RPh.

Pharmacy: Gainesville Pharmacy

City, State: Gainesville, VA

Current Position/Title: Owner, Pharmacist In-Charge

How many years have you been practicing as a pharmacist? 28 years

What led you to a career in independent pharmacy?
After many years in the field, you learn about the aspects of pharmacy you love and those you would like to improve upon. I wanted to have the freedom to practice pharmacy with more of a patient focus and wanted the visit to the pharmacy to be more about the experience than merely walking in and picking up an order. I wanted to offer better service, meaning my entire staff would be friendly, patient, and knowledgeable. Developing strong relationships with my patients and hearing their story is important to me. As a young girl I remember my family using Independent pharmacies and the interaction and service was so loving and compassionate—I wanted to bring that to my own patients too and that led me to open my own pharmacy.

What makes you stand out from your competition?
Our service. I always have time for my patients, and will do anything I can to make their lives more comfortable. I am available to assist them with understanding their therapies, making the best recommendations for their specific needs, and offering delivery services when they can’t make it in. My staff takes the extra time to assist patients- whether it is understanding their medication coverage, handling their prior authorizations, or following up with their physicians. We are there to make sure they get the medication they need, and have sufficient time with their pharmacist to truly understand their therapies, and voice their questions and concerns. I even have my personal cell phone on the pharmacy messaging system for after-hours/weekends if needed.

What are your biggest challenges?
My biggest challenges have been, and continue to be reimbursement issues and forced mail-order changes, particularly for our senior patients.

Describe a recent, rewarding experience with a patient:
Our pharmacy works with a lot of hospice patients. I recently worked with one family who could not get to the pharmacy to pick up their mother's prescriptions. I would often personally deliver them after I closed the store because the hospice nurse would call them in after our deliveries were made for the day. When she passed away I received a beautiful letter along with a visit from her daughter, who I had gotten to know well over the past few months. We hugged each other, and tears started coming down both of our eyes. She thanked us for bringing her mother's medication when she was in pain and there was no one else to pick it up. This is just one of many examples where we know we can help make a difference in people's lives.

How has NCPA helped your business?
I feel that NCPA is the voice of my business and countless other Independent pharmacies around the country. We need advocacy and legislative support to thrive and continue serving our patients and communities.