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Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

Offering a prescription for better health care

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Sandra Bollinger, owner of Helath Priorities Inc., stands in front of the pharmacy at Super D.
SIKESTON - "Know your numbers," emphasizes Sandra Bollinger.

Bollinger isn't talking about dates or bank accounts or even lottery numbers. The numbers she is referring to include cholesterol levels, blood sugar, bone density and other health-related levels which can make the difference in an individual's well-being.

"If you don't know your numbers, you don't know what direction you are headed," the pharmacist warned. "We want to fix a problem before it becomes full blown."

For those who don't know their numbers or are in need of an update, Bollinger, her company Health Priorities Inc. and Super D are here to help.

From her office adjacent to the pharmacy in Super D at 702 N. Main St., Bollinger can perform a variety of screenings, including cholesterol, osteoporosis, arterial elasticity, body composition and hormone levels.

"Basically anything that can be measured or monitored," she said about her screening equipment. "We have prevention in mind or if the disease is already present to slow it down."

Armed with a degree in pharmacy from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and her doctorate in pharmacy from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., along with numerous certifications, Bollinger created her company after realizing the need for intervention programs. In reviewing patient records while working at a long-term care facility, she explained she realized that many health care problems could be prevented if patients had known what to do earlier in life.

The idea is on the cutting edge of pharmaceutical care, according to Bollinger. She points out the Board of Pharmacy created a special certification category - a consulting pharmacist - to cover her area of expertise. She added her company, Health Priorities is the first of its kind in Missouri and perhaps in the United States.

The emphasis is on consulting, Bollinger said. She does not diagnose problems but with referrals from physicians will set up programs for patients.

"My goal is to provide more complete provision of health care. As a pharmacist I complete the continuum of health care begun by the doctor's diagnosis and the nurse's patient care," said Bollinger.

For three and half years, Bollinger worked on her own, taking Health Priorities on the road to companies, hospitals, doctor's offices, clinics or wherever there was a need for screenings and her services. Since mid-summer, she associated her company with Super D in Sikeston.

Affiliating with Super D has enabled her to meet more patients and spread her message on preventive care to more people, she said.

"When we see a disease is not under control, for example a patient is using too much medication in an effort to keep their disease in check, we can provide intervention. Our goal is to provide a better quality of life for the patients and to help save their health care dollars. When they are better able to manage themselves, the patients will not over utilize medications, they use the correction medications and this saves them money."

Another advantage to being at Super D, Bollinger said, is the support she receives from other pharmacists and especially from the pharmacists at Super D. "And that support that goes all the way up the corporate ladder," she added.

She notes being at Super D is returning to her beginnings. Even before she attended pharmacy school, the New Hamburg native worked there and after completing her studies, she was a pharmacist at Super D for several years. While she also works as a pharmacist, her primary goal now is to assist patients and help those who might be in need of medical care.

Initially, Bollinger has concentrated in providing assistance to diabetics but said she is now expanding the programs available through Health Priorities at Super D. If a patient needs assistance with a program she doesn't now offer, she said she would develop one or find someone who could assist the patient.

Also Bollinger and her company are available for on-site screenings. In fact, since Bollinger began her company she has conducted screenings in eight states.

Bollinger prefers appointments be made for screenings and if she is not there, patients can leave a message at the Super D Pharmacy which is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday.