Patients scramble after CVS says it will no longer fill group’s controlled drug prescriptions

Patients of the Trinity Alps Medical Group are scrambling after the CVS Pharmacy in Weaverville announced it will no longer fill any controlled drug prescriptions for patients of the group. The decision affects patients of Dr. Stemple, physician’s assistant Julie Eaker and nurse practitioner Vanessa DeMoss. It does not affect those of Surgeon Daniel Harwood who works out of the same building.

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(3/2/2015) When Health Care Is Far From Home

It’s time for the weekly trip to the clinic in Mad River, about 30 miles down a winding mountain road near the Trinity Alps. The tight twists and turns are hard on the stomach, but even harder on the joints — especially if you have chronic Lyme disease, as more than a few of these riders do…

Like so many isolated American towns, Hayfork has lost its vitality and much of its youth to bigger places. For all its tree-lined ridges and breathtaking views, Hayfork is well beyond the tourists’ byways — more than an hour from the city of Eureka on the west and Redding on the east. It’s a 45-minute drive just to Weaverville, the tiny Trinity County seat…

The Mad River clinic isn’t an ideal alternative. It’s bigger than Hayfork’s and offers a wider array of services but it’s still staffed mostly by physician’s assistants and about an hour away by bus. It’s so backed up with patients it can take weeks to get an appointment, Clarke says…  What’s ailing these people is geography – that, and poverty…

Specialists like dentists and psychiatrists are nearly non-existent here. That lack of specialty care – particularly in mental health – wears on some residents. Stormy Clarke says that when she feels a panic attack or depression coming on, she simply tries to breathe deeply and distract herself by keeping busy. She also has a medical marijuana card and smokes regularly…

From now on, Hayforkers will have to get a ride to Owens Pharmacy in Weaverville or to Walmart or CVS in Redding. It took only a few days to board up a drug store open for 32 years...

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