MILTON — Fruth Pharmacy will provide pharmacy services in Valley Health Systems' new community health center in Milton, the two organizations have announced.

The new 15,000-square-foot, $6.5 million Valley Health Systems center, which is located immediately off Interstate 64 in Milton, is expected to open in mid-October, according to a news release issued by Valley Health and Fruth.

Officials with both organizations see the new partnership as a win for people they serve in the Milton area.

"As construction of the new health center nears completion, we are pleased to announce that Fruth Pharmacy will be our partner for pharmacy care in the new Milton site," Valley Health President and CEO Steve Shattls said in the release. "We are two community-based and community-minded organizations that together look forward to improving the health and well-being of all those we serve."

Lynne Fruth, president of Fruth Pharmacy, called the partnership a great opportunity.

"Valley Health is a key provider in the Milton area," she said. "We have a long-standing partnership with Valley Health in other communities Fruth serves. The services Valley Health offers will be a benefit to the Milton community and Fruth customers."

Valley Health broke ground on the new center a year ago, and the structure is partly funded by HRSA Health Infrastructure Investment Program grants. The center will replace Valley Health's existing facility in Milton at One Harbour Way.

Once the new health center opens, all Fruth Pharmacy services in Milton will be relocated from Fruth's current location at 16 Perry Morris Square to the new health center.

Dr. Mathew Weimer, Valley Health's vice president of health services and chief medical officer, said the nearly 7,000 patients served by Valley Health in Milton will benefit in multiple ways.

"We are very excited for the opportunity to enhance their care experience in a new, modern facility with convenient, on-site access to Fruth's prescription and retail pharmacy," he said. "The benefits of this collaboration, however, extend to the entire Milton community and beyond, as the new Valley Health and Fruth Pharmacy location will provide the community comprehensive family medicine, internal medicine, pediatric, OB/GYN, psychiatry, psychology, dentistry, lab, QUICKCARE and pharmacy services all in one location."

Advantages for Fruth customers will be having a local pharmacist provide patient care while gaining access to Valley Health clinical pharmacists who will work on individualized pharmaceutical care and counseling, including follow-up after hospitalization, according to the two organizations.

The new facility will have a drive-through pharmacy pickup window for prescriptions and a retail space for over-the-counter medications and other pharmacy-related items. Fruth will continue to offer delivery services, AutoFill, text messaging alerts and the Med-Sync Program.

Valley Health's partnership with Fruth will allow Valley Health to meet a requirement for being a federally qualified health center because such facilities are required to offer a variety of health care services, including having pharmacy services on site.

Fruth Pharmacy has been a family-owned company for 67 years. Currently, Fruth Pharmacy has locations in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky.

Valley Health Systems Inc. operates a network of nearly 40 nonprofit health centers and public health programs in southern West Virginia and southeastern Ohio. The organization has served the Tri-State since 1975 and today provides care to more than 75,000 patients each year.

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