Navy Pharmacy Adjusts Procedures in Response to COVID-19

04 June 2020

From Lt. Sarah Ermoshkin, DDS

Naval Health Clinic Annapolis changed the way its pharmacy operates as part of COVID-19 precautions.

In necessary response to the COVID-19 pandemic, health installations across the Department of Defense changed common practices to ensure all eligible beneficiaries receive high quality healthcare, without sacrificing safety. In an innovative approach, Naval Health Clinic Annapolis (NHCA) changed the way its pharmacy operates as part of these precautions.

“Everything that we do is geared toward minimizing the risk of exposure to the virus by patients and staff, and I’ve asked our team to be creative in reducing risk,” said Capt. Walter D. Brafford, NHCA commanding officer.

The pharmacy department, under the lead of Lt. Sean Valdez, made the traditional pharmacy process more accessible and efficient, by implementing a drive through pharmacy model. This makes it possible to pick up prescriptions without leaving one’s car.

Valdez expressed that working outside to make it easier for patients hasn’t been a simple task for his team, but they continue their effort to protect patients.

“Everyone is doing their part to make this patient-centered and as safe as possible for a patient to continue to receive the care and services they need most,” said Valdez.

Although the actual process of preparing medications for dispensing is not a direct patient care activity, the delivery of medication, sitting in a waiting room, in an enclosed space may expose patients and staff.

“I saw an elderly man walk through the waiting room with an oxygen tank in tow when this virus was ramping up,” explained Capt. Martin W. Kerr, NHCA executive officer. “This is our highest-risk population. We knew that we immediately needed to get creative to protect these people from any exposure to COVID-19.”

NHCA and its branch clinics remain open and dedicated to serving the healthcare needs of our active duty service members, family members, and beneficiaries. As NHCA responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, additional health protection measures minimize foot traffic throughout the facility, help mitigate the spread of the virus, and enable staff to preserve better the health and well-being of all patients. The NHCA team remains dedicated to providing the safest, highest quality healthcare to its beneficiaries. 

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