ISU Headlines

Idaho State University Bengal Pharmacy provides innovative approach to rural health care in Arco

Posted June 20, 2014

Bengal Pharmacy, LLC, owned by the Idaho State University Foundation, opened Idaho’s first-ever full-service telepharmacy on June 20 in Arco, Idaho. The pharmacy, in partnership with the Lost Rivers Medical Center, will utilize innovative technology to provide critical health care access to one of the state’s many rural communities, while also providing hands-on experience for ISU’s pharmacy students.

Former Arco pharmacist Steve Streeper, left, talks with Idaho State University Foundation President Arlo Luke at the opening of the Bengal Pharmacy at the Lost River Medical Center in Arco on June 20.“The creation of the Bengal Pharmacy at Lost Rivers will not only advance the College’s research opportunities but has also helped implement our rural community pharmacy residency program,” explained Dr. Paul Cady, dean of the ISU College of Pharmacy. “It’s an innovative and cost-effective approach, offering critical pharmaceutical care to the community.”

After the announcement that Arco’s community pharmacy would be closing with the retirement of local pharmacist Steve Streeper in 2014, Bengal Pharmacy began working with the Lost Rivers Medical Center to develop a plan for continued access to medications.

The pharmacy will be under constant video supervision of a licensed pharmacist physically located in the Bengal Pharmacy on ISU’s Pocatello campus and patients will receive private consultations with the pharmacist using video technology. The Arco telepharmacy will be staffed with a pharmacy technician.

“This project fills a critical need for health care in the Lost Rivers Valley. The care provided by Lost Rivers Hospital is enhanced through this partnership,” said Brad Huerta, CEO of Lost Rivers Medical Center.

Nationally since 2006, nearly 300 rural communities, including four in Idaho, have lost their only pharmacy. Located in Butte County, Arco’s next closest pharmacy is in Blackfoot, Idaho, nearly 60 miles away. With the assistance of this advanced technology, Bengal Pharmacy at Lost Rivers enables the community to maintain access to critical health care within the local area.

The Bengal Pharmacy at Lost Rivers’ operating hours are Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.