By Linda Scherer
Winsted City Council continued its public hearing Tuesday, unanimously approving financing and preliminary plans for St. Mary’s remodeling and memory loss care facility project.
The hearing began right where it left off two weeks ago, with the council wanting to learn more about St. Mary’s future plans for a pharmacy.
Deb Keaveny, CEO of Keaveny Drug in downtown Winsted, was asked by St. Mary’s Administrator/CEO Andy Opsahl to explain the current pharmacy situation to the council.
Keaveny told the council about the predicament she finds herself in since being offered the opportunity to open another pharmacy at St. Mary’s.
“I am not going to be able to run two pharmacies in town,” Keaveny said. “It is a small enough community that I will not be able to support both places. Staff-wise, to put a pharmacy at both locations would be very cost-prohibitive. So, to be honest, I am in a little bit of a pinch.”
“I own the building downtown, and I don’t want to see it vacated,” Keaveny said. “I am going to have something in that building in order to keep the storefront open because I still will have to pay the taxes and maintain the building. And yet, I don’t not want to participate in having a pharmacy in the St. Mary’s area.”
The decision to own and operate a pharmacy at St. Mary’s has been something Keaveny has been looking at for the last year, ever since Opsahl approached her with the idea of including a pharmacy as part of St. Mary’s campus concept more of a community living atmosphere, rather than an institution.
“I think Andy has made it clear that having a pharmacy is kind of key to what they are doing there in the front area,” Keaveny said.
“If I am not the pharmacy that is going to be there, there is a possibility that there would be another pharmacy that would come in and do that,” Keaveny said. “If that should happen, then it’s going to be difficult for us to maintain a pharmacy without St. Mary’s support, without St. Mary’s prescriptions.”
Although Keaveny said she is struggling with the decision, she also believes this is something that she really needs to consider.
She told the council she thinks the relationship between Keaveny Drug and St. Mary’s is a good one, and that St. Mary’s is important to Keaveny Drug “surviving and thriving in Winsted.”
One of the benefits of Keaveny opening a pharmacy on St. Mary’s campus, according to Keaveny, would be a drive through pharmacy where people could drive up to have their prescriptions filled on the way to and from work.
Opsahl also said there has been some discussion about changing the pharmacy hours to match the clinic hours so it would be possible to fill prescriptions following an evening doctor appointment and not having to wait until the following morning.
There wasn’t any public comment following Keaveny’s and Opsahl’s explanation of St. Mary’s campus pharmacy plans.