By John Addyman
PALMYRA — David Stachnik brims with confidence.
For 23 years he owned and operated Park Pharmacy in Hammondsport.
Many of us grew up with a small drug store in our towns. The same pharmacist was there seemingly every day. You knew his name. He knew yours — and the name of everyone in your family.
He probably had one of those white jackets on. You could ask him any question, and he’d take you aside and give you a straight answer. He knew you. He knew your medical history. He knew your allergies and the flavors your kids liked in their amoxicillin.
If you saw him on the street, you’d always say, “Hi!”
Stachnik feels he was that kind of pharmacist in Hammondsport. Now, after seven years working in corporate pharmacies, he’s ready to get back to what he thinks he does best: work with his patients. They’re not a number to him, not a computer account: they’re his neighbors, and he’s there to take care of them.
So many small, independent pharmacies have been sold out and taken over by national corporate drug store chains. But Stachnik is bucking the trend. He is opening a new, independent drug store, the Palmyra Pharmacy, a name that may sound familiar to longtime Palmyra residents.
Stachnik’s new store, which opens next week, is just a few spots down from where Johnson’s Palmyra Pharmacy stood for many years before its final owner, Dave Becker, sold out to one of the those corporate giants, Rite Aid, leaving the village with just one drug store. In fact, Becker and Stachnik started out in the industry together decades ago.
“He introduced me to the mother of my children,” said Stachnik.
Stachnik wants to introduce a higher level of “transitional care” to Palmyra.
“If you look at the numbers, 25 percent of the people discharged from hospitals end up back in the hospital in 30 days,” he said. “Why? They’re discharged with instructions and care plans, which about a third of people who leave the hospital actually follow.”
Stachnik and his Palmyra Pharmacy at 214 E. Main St. will offer a higher, more personal level of care. He’ll use pharmacy interns from St. John Fisher to not only fill prescriptions, but also to go so far as to visit with patients at their homes to make sure drug regimens are being followed — that his patients get well and stay well.
His wife, Julianne, a pharm professor at St. John Fisher College, will take a shift or two at the store. His daughter Laura, a new graduate of pharmacy school herself, “said she’d like to come down and help dear old dad once a week.”
Stachnik doesn’t regret the experience working for the drug store chains.
“It was a great experience working for someone else,” he said, “but you can never push the needle far enough to get the healthcare outcomes you’d like.”
Corporate pharmacists are pressed for production – to fill scripts. Stachnik promises that, given a chance, “I can improve outcomes and reduce costs to my patients.”
A resident of Webster, he met then-Mayor Vicki Daly six years ago, and she took him on a tour of Palmyra.
“I was pleased by the ambiance of the town and the positive way government was willing to partner with business for the good of its citizens,” he said.
Now he’s moving to Palmyra to live and work.
His pharmacy will open on Monday, Sept. 23 — he’s been awaiting final approvals for Medicare Part B arrangements.
“It wouldn’t be fair or right to open the doors until we’re fully stocked and can take care of everyone’s needs,” he said. “I don’t want to have to turn away people.”
The shelves are filling now.
Once inside, customers will find that this little store has a lot to offer. Stachnik said he’ll provide inoculations for pneumonia, herpes and the flu, and provide something many patients know they need but don’t have a name for: “medication therapy management.”
“It’s the identification of people with multiple disease states and multiple high-dollar prescriptions,” he said. “They may be taking many meds with potential side effects. We’ll be able to assess and recommend and develop care plans and send them to the caregiver and prescriber. I’ll be able to do patient counseling to a better degree than I was able to offer in the past.”
The Palmyra Pharmacy will offer programs to save money, concentrating on generic drugs when available, and, said Stachnix, a “retail cash program similar to county cards for brand name and generic drugs for the under-insured or uninsured.”
But how can a little guy in a small town compete with a huge multi-state corporation?
“I’m in it for the long haul,” Stachnik promises. He said his computer system is state-of-the-art, and superb expertise is a phone call or text away – his wife, and the faculty at St. John Fisher.
“I want to develop relationships with people,” he said. “There’s a self-satisfaction there I’ve missed, when you help someone to have better outcomes and reduced costs — that’s a big feeling to me. I know I’m doing my job.”
And in a way, he found out recently that he’s really coming home to Palmyra.
“My dad worked in Palmyra during the Depression,” Stachnik explained. “He was a mason, and he pointed the bricks on all the churches in town.”
Like his father, Stachnik hopes to contribute something to Palmyra as well. Like better health for his patients.
Rx for success
By John Addyman