Mickey Fine Pharmacy
Los Angeles & Beverly Hills, CA

9 - Mickey Fine - PH

A Beverly Hills landmark, Mickey Fine is the only original pharmacy with a soda fountain in all of Los Angeles

Mickey Fine is family-owned and they treat customers and employees as part of their extended family. They have third generation customers and team members that have been with them for over thirty years. At Mickey Fine, their motto is “Where the best costs no more.” They live that philosophy every day. 

IPC:

Can you tell me about your history with the pharmacy?

Jeff:

“My grandfather and my father were both pharmacists, and I’m a CPA by training. My dad always had a pharmacy while I was growing up. He purchased Mickey Fine in 1995. Mickey Fine is unique; as the only original pharmacy with old fashioned soda fountain in Los Angeles. It is literally an icon in Beverly Hills. I started working with my dad briefly before he passed away in 2003. We started to expand in 2005; currently we have three pharmacies and five office building gift shops. While I don’t think any of my three daughters will become pharmacists, but they each have worked in our stores and even our nine year old provides excellent customer service!”

IPC:

You recently celebrated 55 years?

Jeff:

“Yes we did! Owning a historical pharmacy is an honor, it’s more than just a building. The store has been here since the mid 50’s as a pharmacy and diner; that’s how pharmacies used to be and almost all of them had soda fountains. Keeping up that tradition brings a lot of pride. It’s kind of like going back in time. I couldn’t do it without my staff. Five or six staff members have been here for over 30 years. One of the pharmacists was an intern here in the early 70’s. The cook in the restaurant started in 1975. We have turnover like every other store but without my team it would definitely not be the same.”

IPC:

What are some of the benefits of owning an independent pharmacy?

Jeff:

“We get to make a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis. Whether they are sick or need something, we are really a part of the healthcare team. We can make their lives easier and work with them on getting the proper medication or get them switched to something that’s covered by their insurance. I find the one-on-one contact very rewarding. I want all of our patients to be treated like they are part of our family.”

IPC:

What are some of the biggest challenges?

Jeff:

“The challenges vary depending on the week…right now its insurance and the PBMs. They are out of control and that has significant impact on our daily lives. At any given moment they can change how they are doing things and you can go from making a profit to not making a profit. The reimbursements right now for example. That’s why I’m proud to be an IPC member. Pharmacy is not a commodity, the pills are a commodity but a patient’s health is not. Health care is definitely not a commodity. You can drive down the price of drugs but the next year it gets even worse. I am still positive for independent pharmacy, I think things will look a lot different in five years and we’ll be positioned to use our connections and patient knowledge to help the system save money and have healthier outcomes.”

IPC:

How has your relationship been with IPC?

Jeff:

“IPC is not just a buying group; I really appreciate the government relations component. We recently got California AB 315 bill passed and I didn’t hear of any other groups being as vocal and insistent on trying to get our constituency involved. Buying is a commodity but if you really want to change the game and have accountability this is something that really is important. I’m really proud of the work IPC has done with government relations.

Working with Rob Tinsley and the different avenues of change and business development, he has been very helpful. He has an intimate understanding of being an independent pharmacy owner and it’s great to have someone like that on your side.”

IPC:

Are there any special offerings you’d like to highlight?

Jeff:

“I’m very proud of our Med Synch program. When we first got involved with it we had roughly 40 people on a variation of an auto-fill system. Now we have over 1,200 patients involved which accounts for a large percentage of our business. It’s a lot of work and it’s a change in mind-set. I got involved with Med Synch because I didn’t want to lose the incentive money. Then I started realizing how many errors we are actually catching. It could be a dosage change misunderstanding, etc. Our patients are more adherent and they are getting the benefits of the meds instead of just the side effects. I realize how much of an impact we’re making on people’s lives. Originally it was a financial decision and now it’s become much more than that. Most members probably hear about stores that have succeeded with synchronization and they can’t get to five or ten percent. You really have to change your mindset to reap the rewards. When patients are getting older and seeing multiple doctors you really have to help them keep all the facts straight. It’s much easier when you do an MTM review, you can find little potential errors that might not have been caught any other way.”

IPC:

What other things are you working on to stay current in the pharmacy?

Jeff:

“One of my other pet projects involves educating patients on their resources available. Eighty percent of seniors are on the wrong Medicare part D plan (according to Kaiser Foundation). Giving our people easy to understand information allows them to choose the best plan for them. Sometimes that means going to another pharmacy for them to save money. That’s hard for our pharmacy but that’s what I’d want for my family member. Last year I helped one customer save over $2,000 per year. Being there for our customers is a huge benefit of being in independent pharmacy. We have to be careful to not steer them into plans that are most profitable for us, but to just give them the info they need and let them make the decision.

A couple weeks ago I became a luminary for a community pharmacy enhanced services network in California, called CPESN® California. If we want to stand on our own two feet, and have our voices be heard, participating in a clinically integrated CPESN network is critical to approaching payers and providers directly. I’m really looking forward to being involved.

It’s locally-delivered clinical pharmacy practice – pharmacies that go beyond simply filling prescriptions and focus on patient health and enhanced patient care services. The goal is to create a network of pharmacy providers in each local community and demonstrate our ability to improve patient health and lower the total cost of health care directly for medical side payers. By doing that, we can bring them value and either share in the savings and/or get paid for the value we provide... potentially in new ways. I encourage you to give me a call or shoot me an email.”