Albers Specialty Pharmacy Caters to HIV/AIDS Patients

The yellow awning at 3406 Broadway may look unassuming, but there are some big things going on inside.

Walk underneath that awning and through the door, and you will find yourself in Albers Specialty Pharmacy, one of three Albers locations in the Kansas City metro area. What makes this pharmacy special? It focuses on HIV/AIDS patients, providing compassionate and thorough care for its clients.

This Broadway location opened a year and a half ago, and pharmacist Adam Emo says, “I could see myself doing this for a long time.”

Emo graduated from UMKC with a doctorate in pharmacy. He said he had known he wanted to work in medicine since high school, and with his passions for math and science, “it seemed like a natural fit.”

When he talks about providing high-quality care for his customers, you can tell he means it. “We saw an opportunity to not only start a business, but to provide good care to patients who need it and deserve it.”

He talks about the quiet, cozy nature of the pharmacy and the personalized care that the staff offers. They even have a staff member dedicated to calling patients and ensuring that they receive their refills on time. “Our goal here is to make sure everyone has their medications, because ultimately, that’s the best way to treat HIV,” Emo said.

Though Albers Pharmacy is relatively new to the Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, it’s likely that you recognize the name — it’s been in Kansas City for more than 30 years at the 3406 Broadway location of Albers Medical Pharmacy, and there’s another one in Grandview, Mo. Those two locations offer a range of health items instead of specializing in HIV/AIDS care.

Emo and his business partner, Darren Lea, bought the company from Doug Albers, the founder, four years ago. They established the new 3406 Broadway location and have been building its influence ever since.

In addition to the pharmaceutical work they do, they also give back to the community through donations to Kansas City CARE Clinic, the Good Samaritan Project, World AIDS Day, and Southwest Boulevard Family Health Care. This holiday season, they have a program called “Giving Thanks, Giving Back,” which makes a donation in the patient’s name every time a prescription is filled. Customers can choose between the Angel Tree (which provides holiday gifts and basic necessities to local children affected by HIV/AIDS) and World AIDS Day (which benefits Kansas City’s AIDS Service Foundation).

Emo says there are special considerations for HIV/AIDS patients, as some use Medicaid or the Ryan White CARE Act, the largest federally funded program for those living with HIV/AIDS. CARE includes prescription coverage through the AIDS Drug Assistance Program. Emo says that oftentimes patients “move in and out of coverage.” Because of this, Albers extends a kind of grace to their patients that you’re not likely to find outside of an independent pharmacy.

“Insurance can be a big hurdle when you’re dealing with HIV care. … Sometimes we have to dispense medication without getting any money for it in the hopes that they get it approved,” Emo said.

It’s clear that Emo believes deeply in his work. “We’re here for our patients,” he says. “We care about each and every one of them, and we give them the respect and care that they need.” Kansas City is lucky to have Albers Specialty Pharmacy — and so is the Chamber.

Find out more about Albers Specialty Pharmacy at facebook.com/albersspecialty.

Photo:  Landon Vonderschmidt

The Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (MAGLCC) is an organization that advocates, promotes and facilitates the success of the LGBT business community and its allies. Learn more at MAGLCC.org. 

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