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Sample prescription label from the Upstate University Hospital Pharmacy

At your service: Hospital pharmacy caters to outpatients

Special packaging available for those taking multiple medications 

The Upstate Outpatient Pharmacy provides services not typically found at retail pharmacies.

Anyone who takes a variety of medications at different times of day may appreciate pouch packaging. This service places pills into small packets, labeled with the date and time they are to be taken. “Everything that needs to be taken at that specific time of day is prepacked. The guesswork is gone,” explains pharmacist Emily Adamy, who manages the pharmacy on West Seneca Turnpike, across the street from Upstate Community Hospital.

A second location is inside the main entrance of Upstate University Hospital in downtown Syracuse. Both pharmacies are open to the public from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. The downtown location is also open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Planning for the outpatient pharmacy included coming up with solutions for patients’ most common complaints about pharmacies, says pharmacist Eric Balotin. He says it was important that the pharmacies are well stocked with a variety of medications for prescriptions written by Upstate providers. He has a team of staff who can obtain prescription authorizations from health insurers on behalf of providers. He also has medication assistance coordinators whose sole job is to help patients find ways to afford their medications. Balotin is director of the Upstate Outpatient Pharmacy.

The pharmacists help minimize adverse effects by monitoring which drug therapies a patient has been prescribed. They teach patients and their loved ones about how to take medications and the potential side effects. And they offer basic compounding for patients who need a special formulation, a reduced dose of medication or, for example, an oral suspension of a medication that is not sold in liquid form.

Balotin describes one of the features patients like most. “We built a very strong ‘meds-to-beds’ program. When a patient is in the hospital and being discharged, we deliver their medications to the bedside at the time of discharge, so when they leave the hospital, they can go right home. They don’t have to make any additional stops. They go home with everything that they need.”

And when it’s time for a refill, or for any outpatient pharmacy-related questions, they just call 315-464-3784 (DRUG). The pharmacy ships medications via United Parcel Service or through a courier service at no additional charge.

Patients who have old medications at home can safely dispose of them using disposal boxes at either location.



Cancer Care magazine spring 2022 cover
This article appears in the spring 2022 issue of Cancer Care magazine.

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