23220 Chagrin Blvd., Suite 476, Beachwood, OH, 44122 chris@emilyjerryfoundation.org 440.289.8662

Kroger Pharmacy: The Gold Standard in Retail Pharmacy


On the Morning of May 8th I was honored to give the keynote presentation at Kroger Pharmacy’s Annual Medication Safety Summit in Cincinnati at, of all places, Paul Brown Stadium (I honestly didn’t even realize it was going to be there until the night before the event!). Due to the fact that over the past few years I’ve been focussing all of my time related to medication safety, on clinical pharmacy, I honestly didn’t think too highly of retail pharmacy in general. To make matters even worse, I had such negative experiences recently with the Walgreens lobbyists in the Florida Senate, over my opposition to Florida’s SB818.

I must say that Kroger Pharmacy changed ALL of my negative opinions and thoughts during the course of this engagement! Every single pharmacist, pharmacy technician, and upper level management person I met, I now consider the “rockstars” of retail pharmacy! Kroger Pharmacy is the new “Gold standard” in my mind, for putting their customer’s safety, BEFORE profits. I will subsequently use their example for the other retail pharmacy chains, in terms of my core expectations, going forward!

As you can tell, I was pretty impressed with what I found within the Kroger Pharmacy culture. The feeling was mutual as attendees of the event seemed to be truly touched by my story as well. Below are some very kind notes I received as a result of the presentation. This kind of feedback really inspires me to keep moving forward, inching closer to the goal every day of safer standards for our patients, and reducing the human error component of medicine.

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Dear Mr. Jerry,

My name is Casey and I met you this week when you spoke to the group of pharmacy managers and lead technicians for the Kroger Company in Cincinnati.  I would first like to thank you again for sharing your story with us and commend you for your strength and compassion.  It is rare to have such powerful qualities in the face of such adversity and I can only pray to have a fraction of those qualities for myself.

I cannot express exactly how much Emily’s life and story moved me. As a new parent, this story was especially impactful, and I again marvel at your courage.  Your work in advocating medication safety is admirable in itself, but is exponentially more moving when the tragedy of Emily’s death is added.  I am a member of our division’s Medication Safety Committee and it is extraordinary to me that anyone outside of the pharmacy profession would work so passionately to enhance our practice.  Patient safety has always been a focus of mine and I hope to instill that in every member of my staff.  I was hoping you could direct me to where I could find the video clip you showed us at the beginning of your presentation.  I conduct quarterly staff meetings and I would like to show my staff the video and share Emily’s story with them at our next meeting.  I would like to use any means available to impress upon my staff the importance of the work they do and how impactful it can be.

Also, I would like you to know that in an effort to make our pharmacy as safe as it can possibly be, I have banned all use of cell phones within the pharmacy.  It is a small step, but a change I could make quickly and something I feel will be very impactful on the focus of attention for my staff.

Again, I thank you for sharing  your story and wish you the best in your endeavors in patient safety advocacy.

With thanks,

Casey Guilfoyle, PharmD, RPh

Pharmacy Manager
Kroger Co., Store 418

Hi Mr. Jerry,

I am pharmacist with Kroger in Cincinnati, and had the opportunity to hear you speak at Paul Brown on Wednesday. I really wanted to come and chat with you after the program, and let you know the impact you had on me personally, but never felt like I could hold it together to talk to you without tears running down my face.

I have never been so affected professionally as I was after listening to your program. I am the mommy of four young kiddos, two of which are beautiful little two year old girls, just like Emily. So, you can imagine that the impact of what happened to Emily really hit close to home for me. I always knew that becoming a mom would make me a better pharmacist, but that statement has never been more accurate, after listening to your testimony. I really don’t have the right words to say to you, but to let you know that you really, really are making a difference by sharing your story. I will never forget you, Emily, or the impact you have had on me personally and professionally.

With that being said, is there any way that I can get a copy of the video you showed at the beginning of your talk, to share with my staff pharmacist and technicians? I feel like from time to time, everyone gets careless, and I would like to remind them how important they are in making sure our customers are safe.

Again, I can’t thank you enough for reminding me of the role I have as a pharmacist each and every day.

Thank you,
Nicole Cogan

Chris-

I am a Kroger pharmacist that you spoke to just a few days ago. I am the one who showed you a picture of my daughter, Chloe, who looks so similar to Emily. I wanted you to know that I truly admire the work you are doing to improve patient safety. If there is any thing I can assist with please feel free to contact me.

Thank you for sharing your tragic story so that there may be saved.

Lauren Gantzer

Mr. Jerry,

I had to send you a note to let you know how touched I was by your presentation yesterday at the Pharmacy Show. As a mother and a grandmother myself, I can’t imagine going through what you went through. I met you at the breakfast portion before the pharmacy show started and you gave me your card. I had no idea who you were. Working as a pharmacy technician, I of course have heard about Emily’s story, but I never knew the whole story. I don’t think you left too many dry eyes in the place yesterday. This year is the first year that Kroger has let technicians go to the show and I know the one thing that will stay with me from this is your story and precious Emily’s beautiful face. My heart goes out to you for your forgiveness for the parties involved. Emily is in heaven cheering for her Daddy for carrying on the work that she started.

God bless you for all your hard work and getting your story out there. You had an effect on alot of people yesterday.

You will see your beautiful daughter again someday when God feels your job is done. Emily will be saving a place for you in heaven.

Take care,

Kim Clark

Hi Mr. Jerry

My name is Nick Woodward and I am the lead pharmacy technician at the Kroger Pharmacy on Mall Road in Florence, Kentucky. I was at your presentation today at Paul Brown Stadium. Your presentation really moved me and hit home for me. I have a 20 month old little girl. First let me say I am sorry for your loss and I am amazed by your forgiveness and strength. You inspired me today. I want you to know I’m going to share everything you said today with all my pharmacy technicians and any other technicians I talk to through out the day. I was also disappointed that the Kentucky score card was a D. I would like to know what I can do or what we can do to get that score higher. I would like to help any way I can. Thank you for having the courage and strength to talk to us today. And thank you for making our pharmacy a safer place. Once again I am sorry for your loss.

Sincerely
Nick Woodward

“Chris, your work is so important and I’m incredibly grateful for the folks at Kroger for encouraging you and reminding you of that fact. We need you.”
~Richard M. Edwards via Facebook

“@JMcDeez: @EmilyJerry Cannot thank you enough for speaking w/our team yesterday. They were still talking about your inspiring message today. #Awesome”
~Jaime McDermott via Twitter

One Comment on “Kroger Pharmacy: The Gold Standard in Retail Pharmacy

  1. Chris, I know you spent alot of time with alot of people on May 8, but I wanted to follow up with you and let you know how much of your foundation and work mean to me. I think you may remember I thanked you for your work and blessed you with your courage to forgive Eric. Just to pass it along that night, several of my friends who are pharmacy managers had the frank discussion if we would be so forgiving as you are. To say the least, I did not know much of the particulars of Emily and her last days, but I feel moved to push it forward. I think several of my friends would like to do something, either a 5 k walk or some kind of awareness that we can do to promote you and your foundation. I also feel truly blessed to have met you and to help put my priorities straight everyday that God has give me the gift to touch people’s lives and that by taking care of them, I in turn pass the goodness forward. I also want to thank you for working with all the legislative bodies in making a change. I have always felt that people say the understand that we are human, until a healthcare professional makes an error. I think I can say for all of us anything we can do to eliminate errors in any manner should always be our most important goal. Being a fellow father, pharmacist, and christian, let me say my prayers and thoughts will always be with you and your family. If you every get the chance to see your ex-wife, tell her that we pray and grieve with her also.
    Sincerley,
    Rick Phillips
    Kroger Pharmacy Manager#433

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