June Pharmacy Profile:
Hayat Pharmacy (Milwaukee, Wisconsin area)

Growing and detail-oriented Hayat Pharmacy is improving health care in the Brew City, propelled by its strong relationship with IPC

Hayat stands for life, and that's exactly what owner Hashim Zaibak has tried to provide Milwaukee, Wisconsin area customers of his burgeoning Hayat Pharmacy. Started just three years ago, Zaibak's franchise now has five locations throughout the city, and an enviable Medication Therapy Management program that has earned the pharmacy numerous accolades.
IPC:

What are core principles of Hayat Pharmacy?

Hashim:

“(In Arabic) Hayat stands for life, so from the very beginning when we started the pharmacy, we wanted to provide our patients with a better life. All the people that work here, from the pharmacists, to the technicians and even the drivers know this is the priority. It is not just about filling prescriptions here. It is about making sure people are healthier and enjoying a better life and a better quality of life. That’s how it all started.”

IPC:

In March of 2014, Hayat Pharmacy was recognized by the American Pharmacists Association as a One to One Patient Counseling Awardee thanks in part to its MTM program. What does this program entail?

Hashim:

“We don’t just do a quick counseling with our patients at the out window. About a year ago we implemented a MTM program, with help and training from the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin, where we sit down with our patients in a private room and consult with them about their medications. We show them videos on our iPad and spend more quality time with them. Some of these medications/devices can be very complicated for somebody who has never used them before. Our MTM program has brought us a lot of positive attention, but by doing this we are improving the health of our community, especially in the inner city of Milwaukee, where we have a lot of patients that need that extra help as far as education. For our disabled and elderly patients that cannot make it into the pharmacy, we actually send a pharmacist to their home to assist them.”

IPC:

What has IPC meant to the success of Hayat Pharmacy over the past three years?

Hashim:

“IPC is a great purchasing group and we couldn’t have done (any of this) without IPC as our buying group. When you start up an independent pharmacy, if you would try to do it on your own, it’s almost impossible to compete without being part of a purchasing group. McKesson was my choice as a wholesaler because I had worked with McKesson at my previous job and I really liked their customer service. When I searched for purchasing groups that deal with McKesson, IPC was highly recommended by other members of the organization. Looking back from then up to the present, IPC has saved us a significant amount of money on the cost of goods.”

IPC:

Back in the fall of 2012, IPC sponsored a Grand Opening of Hayat’s third location. How did that event turn out?

Hashim:

“I actually had forgotten about the Grand Opening, but IPC’s Director of Partner Relations Mindy Herrmann and my (Inside Sales Rep) Kim Kaufman were really nice, and when we had the Grand Opening, they came and really helped us. IPC gave us some prizes to give out to the patients and were here at the store helping us with all of the activities. Plus because we are here in Wisconsin, I’ve actually been able to visit the IPC offices a couple of times in the Madison area. We have an excellent relationship with the IPC team.”

IPC:

How did you start Hayat Pharmacy?

Hashim:

“It took me about a year to get Hayat Pharmacy started. At that time I was an employee at one of the big chains and for about year I read books and attended workshops about how to open a pharmacy. NCPA has excellent resources for people that want to start their own independent pharmacy. Believe it or not, I even drove down to Chicago a couple of times to meet with some independent pharmacists out of Chicago, who have been doing this for years. I had to do a lot of research.

Once you start the paperwork to start up the pharmacy, you have to get a DEA number, a NPI number, start an account with a wholesaler and pick which computer system to use. There were a lot of questions that I had to research and find the answer for before I ever opened the door on my first pharmacy.”

IPC:

Could you talk about the growth of Hayat Pharmacy, which now has five locations?

Hashim:

“The first pharmacy was definitely the hardest because I had to do a lot of research to get the practice moving. When we got to the second, third, fourth and we just opened our fifth location, it gets a little bit easier, especially if you keep the same employees with you because they know the process. They’ve done it the first time, the second, the third time and so on. It makes it a lot harder when you don’t keep your employees. We tend to have a good number of employees that stay with us long term.”

IPC:

What are some of the perks to membership with IPC?

Hashim:

“Absolutely, the rebates (are great). With the reimbursements from the PBMs going down every year, it is almost impossible to compete without all of the rebates IPC provides us. The IPC rebate process is pretty simple to understand and the customer service there is pretty accessible. If there is a question, I either work with Kim or with my rep from McKesson. The process is easy and it is easy to go to IPC’s website if there is a question. I’m actually extremely happy with IPC, have been with IPC since day one and all (five) of our locations are with IPC. I even recommend IPC for my colleagues that have pharmacies.”

IPC:

How important is it that your employees believe in the same principles as you do?

Hashim:

“The key is really to surround yourself with leaders. When we hire new people, they have to go through three interviews. We are always looking for people that are passionate about customer service. When I hire a pharmacist, I tell them that Medication Therapy Management is a part of our culture and we really look for those qualities when we interview people. When you surround yourself with people that have the same vision as you, you can expand, yet still have the same quality of customer service at all of your locations.”

IPC:

In March Hayat Pharmacy was also recognized as PDS Pharmacy of the year. How did that award come about?

Hashim:

“That award was really a surprise for me. Our team here nominated me a few months prior and I didn’t even know about it until the day I received it. I joined that organization two years ago and actually learned a lot from them about managing pharmacies. They gave me the award, but honestly I have learned a lot from them.”