Local pharmacy loses contract

The company operating Valley View Home is ending a contract with a local pharmacy that has supplied medication for about 20 years to the residents at the former county-owned nursing


Reliant Senior Care Management of Philadelphia, which began operating Valley View on June 1 after the county sold it to a limited liability corporation, has notified Thompson’s Pharmacy of its intent to end that contract in 60 days, pharmacy owner Bill Thompson Jr. said Monday.

The pharmacy, Thompson said, did not have a chance to challenge Reliant’s decision or to lobby the company in favor of retaining the business.

“We got the news last Wednesday that they’re getting rid of us,” Thompson said. “We’re out.”

Reliant Chief Executive Officer Nathan Niles said Monday that when the contract with Thompson’s ends, PharMerica will supply Valley View residents with medication.

It’s a national company, Niles said, and it currently supplies medications for Reliant’s other nursing facilities. Besides Valley View, Reliant has 21 additional nursing facilities in 15 Pennsylvania counties, and none depend on a local pharmacy, Niles said.

Thompson said he’s not sure what actions will have to be taken to adjust to the loss of business.

“We’re going to have to look at the numbers and see what we’re dealing with,” Thompson said. “In almost 50 years of business, we’ve never had to lay off anyone, and this is the first time we’re facing something like this.”

Blair County commissioners Terry Tomassetti and Diane Meling, who voted in favor of selling Valley View, said they were disappointed with Reliant’s decision.

When interviewing potential buyers, Meling said she routinely asked if they intended to maintain contracts with local businesses. Every potential buyer, Meling said, indicated an interest in supporting local businesses but added that cost would be a factor in their decisions.

“My guess is that a national company stepped in with better numbers,” Meling said.

Tomassetti, who supported selling Valley View as a way to reduce the county’s financial obligation, said he wished Reliant would have continued using Thompson’s Pharmacy.

“If we lose business locally, I’m disappointed,” Tomassetti said.

Thompson said he doesn’t blame the commissioners for what happened.

“The commissioners had to do what they thought was right for the county, but it’s unfortunate for us and it’s unfortunate for the community,” Thompson said.

Commissioner Ted Beam Jr., said something like this is why he disagreed with selling the home.

“This is a spin-off effect that affects the county in a negative way,” Beam said.

Niles said he expects Valley View residents will be well-served by PharMerica and declined further comment about the reasons behind the change.

Commissioners said Thompson Pharmacy served Valley View well and drew praise regularly, including from Affinity Healthcare of Indiana, the management company the county hired to oversee the home’s operations.