MURRAY — Approximately 250 employees of Intermountain Healthcare's soon-to-be-closed retail pharmacies in Utah are on the hunt for new positions.
The 25 pharmacies are located throughout the state, from Logan to St. George, and are scheduled to close on various dates in August.
Intermountain Healthcare has provided a full list of the affected locations and corresponding closing dates.
"These pharmacies are different than hospital pharmacies that serve patients receiving care in a hospital," the company's announcement said. "Inpatient pharmacies are not affected."
The retail pharmacies that are closing have low customer usage, the company said. In 2020, the financial loss for the locations was $11 million. Through May of this year, the loss has been $6 million.
Intermountain Healthcare has entered into an agreement with CVS Pharmacy to transfer prescriptions and inventory.
"Pharmacy files of each location will be securely and confidentially transferred to conveniently located retail pharmacy locations," the press release went on to say. "CVS Pharmacy will work with all new patients to ensure that they can continue to access their medications easily and without disruption."
Customers will have the option to transfer their prescriptions to any pharmacy, the company said. Letters will be sent to each patient with more information and whom to contact for assistance.
Intermountain Healthcare told KSL-TV in an email that while 250 employees are affected by the shuttering of the pharmacies, it's not a layoff situation because the plan is to transition them to other jobs.
"Intermountain is committed to working with impacted employees to identify an opportunity that aligns with their needs and preferences and they will have the option to transition to other roles within Intermountain and also be considered for positions at local CVS Pharmacy locations," the company said.
A pharmacy technician who works at the pharmacy at Utah Valley Hospital in Provo said there are not enough positions available within the company to absorb the employees from the pharmacies that are closing.
"There are 250 of us who are now trying to find new positions, whether that's within the company or outside of the company," said Jenny Smith. "It's a difficult time for all of us."
Smith said she takes issue with the company's characterization.
"I don't understand how this is not a layoff situation," she said. "We've been offered severance packages. We've been offered career counseling, resume coaching."
Smith said that Intermountain Healthcare is the best company she has ever worked for and that she and other employees were stunned and heartbroken by the decision to close the pharmacies.
It's shocking to all of us. None of us saw it coming.
–Jenny Smith, pharmacy technician
"It's shocking to all of us," she said. "None of us saw it coming."
Intermountain Healthcare confirmed with KSL-TV that for the 150 pharmacy technicians who are affected, there are currently 48 open positions for pharmacy technicians within the company. For the 75 pharmacists who work at the closing pharmacies, the company currently has 22 open pharmacist positions.
The job openings do not include additional pharmacy positions at local CVS pharmacies, a company spokesperson said.
"The intent is to do all we can to keep employees in equivalent jobs, some in a pharmacy, and others in different health care settings," said Daron Cowley with Intermountain Healthcare, adding that they have been open and transparent with employees about the process.