CVS and cutting store hours

storewanderer
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CVS and cutting store hours

Post by storewanderer » January 14th, 2020, 11:15 pm

CVS is making some pretty significant cuts to store hours up here in Nevada. This goes into effect 1/26.

Some stores previously cut back to 8 AM to 9 PM a couple years ago. Most were still 8 AM to 10 PM everyday.

Now a number of stores (some of which were previously 8 AM to 10 PM everyday) are switching to 8 AM to 8 PM Monday-Saturday and 9 AM to 5 PM Sunday. Basically front store hours mirror pharmacy hours in these cases, more or less. Some stores close pharmacy at 7 PM.

Some locations (near Walgreens) seem to be keeping the 8 AM to 10 PM everyday hours still.

What is interesting is often I go into CVS Stores late at night after the pharmacy is closed but the pharmacist is still in the back in the closed pharmacy filling up prescriptions. I wonder how the front store closing earlier will impact that work flow.

Is this happening elsewhere as well?

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Re: CVS and cutting store hours

Post by Bagels » January 15th, 2020, 3:19 am

I recall reading about this last fall (probably in a summary of an earnings call) - at stores in which sales are dominated by the pharmacy (e.g. places people aren't buying Tide or $6 Lean Cuisines), the store will be open only when the pharmacy is. It was the central piece of their 2020 cost cutting package, which also included rolling back pharmacy hours at even more locations and cross-training more "front end" employees to reduce pharmacy tech staffing.

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Re: CVS and cutting store hours

Post by Alpha8472 » January 15th, 2020, 5:14 am

CVS is caving in to the share holders. The corporate office wants to cut costs and make the stock price go higher at the expense of the stores.

Customers realize that they can get cheaper products at Walmart, Target, or supermarkets. CVS is a high priced convenience store.

In California, Longs Drugs was a great store with good sales prices and a huge selection of store brand foods. You actually could find good bargains and shop for much more than just over the counter medications. Then CVS took them over and got rid of the selection and great customer service. The staffing was cut and the helpful employees disappeared.

Customer counts went down by 80 percent.

The way CVS runs a store is bewildering. They have done everything they can to destroy a winning formula and drive customers away. CVS thinks that their way is the only way to run a drugstore.

Pharmacy technicians are trained in medications and licensed. Front end cashiers have no medical training or licenses. Now they want cashiers to do the jobs of licensed employees. This could be returning drugs to the shelf in the pharmacy or answering customer questions. Most of the time cashiers are quite lost. Ask a cashier to refill your blood thinners and cholesterol medications and the cashier is clueless. They don't even know what the drug names stand for. They have to go ask a pharmacist or pharmacy technician what each drug is for. It takes twice as long to get anything done.

Patients safety is at risk. A cashier refills an anti inflammatory drug instead of blood pressure medication and the patient suffers a stroke and dies. Or a cashier sells the wrong type of insulin and the customer goes into a diabetic coma and dies. It is the little things that make a difference when it comes to a licensed pharmacy technician and a minimum wage cashier with no medical training.

As for the pharmacist filling prescriptions after the pharmacy has closed, either the pharmacist was working off the clock or there was so much work that the pharmacist had to keep working late just to get prescriptions done. If the store closes earlier the prescriptions will have to wait until the next day. That means more work the next day, longer wait times for prescriptions to be filled, and more unhappy customers. This will drive customers away, to smaller independent pharmacies where there is better staffing and shorter wait times. It is all about losing customers with CVS. What more can they do to drive customers away.

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Re: CVS and cutting store hours

Post by Super S » January 15th, 2020, 11:35 am

It seems like there was a period of time where Rite Aid had cut hours back in a similar way at some stores about 10-15 years ago, but eventually restored them.

As for CVS....this could also work to send customers to their pharmacies inside Target locations, unless those pharmacies are also cutting hours (which Target could have some say in)

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Re: CVS and cutting store hours

Post by BillyGr » January 16th, 2020, 7:53 am

Alpha8472 wrote:
January 15th, 2020, 5:14 am
As for the pharmacist filling prescriptions after the pharmacy has closed, either the pharmacist was working off the clock or there was so much work that the pharmacist had to keep working late just to get prescriptions done. If the store closes earlier the prescriptions will have to wait until the next day. That means more work the next day, longer wait times for prescriptions to be filled, and more unhappy customers. This will drive customers away, to smaller independent pharmacies where there is better staffing and shorter wait times. It is all about losing customers with CVS. What more can they do to drive customers away.
Seems it might make sense to have the pharmacist there after the counter was officially closed, as it would be easier for them to work on finishing up filling stuff without being interrupted by customers coming in or having to answer the phone. Good time to do those refills that are automatically done or ones people dropped off to pick up "tomorrow".

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Re: CVS and cutting store hours

Post by Alpha8472 » January 16th, 2020, 12:28 pm

CVS says no overtime. They want the pharmacist to leave counting pills to the technician. Usually the pharmacist is scheduled 8 hours only and cannot work off the clock. The technician should be counting as the pharmacist is paid much more per hour.

CVS has been cutting hours and often there is no pharmacist on duty in the pharmacy while the sole pharmacist is at lunch. So CVS would not schedule a pharmacist to ever work outside of pharmacy hours. It would be wiser to have the pharmacy be open later rather than waste work hours on a pharmacist in a closed pharmacy.

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Re: CVS and cutting store hours

Post by storewanderer » January 17th, 2020, 6:46 pm

I am not sure if something is different in NV than CA on how the pharmacists work. But I have been in 3 different CVS Stores after the pharmacy closed in the past two weeks where I see and/or hear the pharmacist working behind the closed pharmacy filling pills.

I wonder if these chains could go to some kind of a centralized fill location for routine refills (like overnight fill) then somehow deliver them out to the physical store locations. Probably lots of issues and risks involved in transporting prescriptions from some centralized fill facility out to the individual stores.

The CVS pharmacies inside Target already operate under very limited hours (close at 7 PM on weeknights and 5 PM on weekends) in my area. I am not sure what the plan for those long term is. In cases where CVS has a store of its own nearby, they seem a little redundant.

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Re: CVS and cutting store hours

Post by Alpha8472 » January 18th, 2020, 12:15 am

Each pharmacy has its own license, inventory, and budget. CVS does not do central fill. The individual pharmacy is responsible for filling its prescriptions and the pills come out of their own inventory and budget. They do not use a central fill. The prescriptions from a central fill come out of the central fill pharmacy's budget and the profits would go the central fill pharmacy. The individual pharmacy would not get any labor hours or money from the central fill prescriptions.

Perhaps some employees are working overtime after hours. However, overtime is seriously discouraged at chain pharmacies. They have cut employee hours enough. My friend who worked at Walgreens, said that the store manager would stand at the pharmacy door and make sure that she left on time. Not even one minute of overtime or working off the clock was tolerated. This is all about cutting costs.

I know that many CVS pharmacies have cut staff hours so much that people are burning out and cannot get the basic things done in the work day. Working after hours may get the work done if they are so overwhelmed during the day from constant interruptions by phone calls and customer questions. However, a closed pharmacy is not profitable. The doors should be open. Each prescription that is dropped off is a sale. Each refill ordered is a sale. If the pharmacy is closed and employees are working inside, they are turning away customers and losing sales. The pharmacy officially does not get paid by insurance until the patient picks up the prescription. They should be open as much as possible so that customers can pick up their prescriptions.

They might as well just open up the pharmacy and restore the pharmacy hours back to what they were. If the district manager finds out someone is working off the clock after hours people could get fired for that. I think some employees might just be desperate enough to work off the clock, since they are not getting the work done during the work day.

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Re: CVS and cutting store hours

Post by storewanderer » January 18th, 2020, 7:46 pm

Given that whenever a prescription is filled it goes through a series of steps on the computer from entry, to fill, to verify, to complete, I would think the CVS computer would be tracking this and it would not be terribly difficult to detect that the store on Oddie Blvd. in Sparks or 7th St. in Reno or 5019 McCarran Blvd. in Reno has prescription fill activity in the computer going on after the pharmacy has already closed for the night. But maybe it is known that it is done this way to handle backlog.

But you are right if they are going to be there they may as well be open... maybe they figure many customers are forced to get their prescription from CVS (some family members of mine are under this impression, despite that they could also go to various grocery stores instead under the same terms) so customers will make a point to show up when they are open.

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Re: CVS and cutting store hours

Post by babs » January 18th, 2020, 11:20 pm

storewanderer wrote:
January 17th, 2020, 6:46 pm
I am not sure if something is different in NV than CA on how the pharmacists work. But I have been in 3 different CVS Stores after the pharmacy closed in the past two weeks where I see and/or hear the pharmacist working behind the closed pharmacy filling pills.

I wonder if these chains could go to some kind of a centralized fill location for routine refills (like overnight fill) then somehow deliver them out to the physical store locations. Probably lots of issues and risks involved in transporting prescriptions from some centralized fill facility out to the individual stores.

The CVS pharmacies inside Target already operate under very limited hours (close at 7 PM on weeknights and 5 PM on weekends) in my area. I am not sure what the plan for those long term is. In cases where CVS has a store of its own nearby, they seem a little redundant.
Central Fill is common at chain stores. Off the top of my head, I know Target (before CVS), Walgreens, Fred Meyer/Kroger, and Costco use a central fill RX in some of their markets. .

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