Members of the town of Taos and health care administrators with Genoa, an Illinois-based health care company, gathered at Tri-County Community Services on Tuesday (Nov. 28) to open a new onsite pharmacy intended to ease access to medications and further streamline treatment for Taos County residents struggling with addiction and behavioral health conditions.
“Genoa is a national chain that has 370 pharmacies throughout the country,” said head pharmacist John Hutchinson, who recently transitioned from Holy Cross Hospital to spearhead the new program. “The idea is that we get our consumers access to their meds. It’s all about better access and coordination of care.”
Mayor Dan Barrone attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony held in the afternoon in front of a window to the new pharmacy, where members of Tri-County’s ever-growing client population will be able to pick up needed medications under the same roof where they receive care.
Tri-County CEO Dr. Rodney Gross said that improved access is a vital component of care for clients who may live in any number of remote areas across Taos, Colfax and Union counties, where Tri-County offers services.
Gross also said that providing medication at the same location enhances their ability to monitor the medications a client is receiving, adding an additional safeguard against over-prescribing – an ongoing challenge for health care providers throughout the country.
The new pharmacy is one of a few new initiatives Tri-County has executed so far this year.
This summer, the provider began prescribing Suboxone and Vivitrol to clients recovering from opioid addiction. Both medications are now provided in conjunction with behavioral health treatment provided through a partnership with Dr. Gina Pérez-Baron, who has been providing opioid treatment for many years in Northern New Mexico. Tri-County and Genoa are looking to expand services to other members of the Taos County population, including the Taos County Adult Detention Center, where they hope to provide detainees with drug charges a better shot at getting clean in a county where services available to help them do so are few in number.
Hutchinson said he came on board to be a part of what he sees as the right vision for providing care in Taos. “Genoa’s model embodies everything I believe in for the practice of pharmacy and how it should be,” he said, “which is face-to-face interactions and access to health care. With the behavioral health population, that is huge.”