O2 and apples? Barnes has prescription

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Thursday, July 18, 2019

VALDOSTA, Ga. – When it comes to patient health, Barnes Healthcare thinks beyond home medical equipment with its FARMacy Market.

“What we focus on at Barnes is our patients being healthy and that includes food,” said Heather Sardina, executive assistant. “This is another way to say to our patients, this is something we believe in and want to provide.”

Two or three times a week, a local farmer sets up in the parking lot of the Barnes Drug Store location in Valdosta, selling fruit and vegetables to patients, employees and the community.

Customers might buy a pound of sweet potatoes or four oranges for $1, or a watermelon for $5, says Sardina.

“We’re just making it easier and less expensive to have fresh fruit and vegetables, and also support a local farmer,” she said. “The farmer gets a lot of attention from our patients coming in to fill a script or exchange oxygen tanks.”

The market is also a way for the family-owned Barnes Healthcare, which has a pharmacy and offers oxygen, CPAP, non-invasive ventilation, enteral nutrition and disease management services, to stand out from the competition, says Sardina.

“Other pharmacies like Walgreens would never allow somebody onto their property to do this,” she said.

The FARMacy market is simply another way to help patients manage their health, says Sardina.

“We have a lot of patients with chronic disease and nutrition is a big part of that,” she said. “Even if you don’t have a chronic disease, nutrition plays a huge role in prevention and at Barnes we are all about that. One of our chairman’s quotes is ‘I’ll know I’m successful when I have no patients any more.’”