Andy Kim is a former GOVERNING staff writer.
After over a century of having a hometown pharmacy, the city of Adrian, Minn., had to shut it down due to financial issues with the affordability of a full-time pharmacist. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, city officials quickly responded to the closure by creating a telepharmacy that allows its 1,200 residents – many of them senior citizens – fill prescriptions and receive consultations without having to travel over 20 miles away to the nearest pharmacy. To visit the telepharmacy, customers visit a satellite office in Adrian, which is staffed by pharmacy technicians who fill the prescriptions. A pharmacist in the nearby city of Worthington oversees dispensing, and Adrian customers can video chat with the pharmacist if they have questions. The telepharmacy was made possible by a $99,999 Rural Business Enterprise Grant from the USDA, using money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.