Guardian expands headquarters in Bartlett

Guardian Mid-South Pharmacy has doubled the size of its operation, opening a new 20,000-square-foot headquarters in Bartlett after expanding its customer base by more than 33 percent in 18 months.

The long-term care pharmacy company moved into the former Fred’s location on Highway 70 east of Appling Road. It expects to increase its current employee count of 60 by about 25 percent over the next two years.

The additional space will allow Guardian to grow along with the aging population in Shelby County. It expects the population of residents 65 years and older will grow by 20 percent in Shelby County by the year 2030.

Guardian serves skilled nursing facilities, assisted living and memory facilities, and behavioral health operations such as Youth Villages along with disability and intellectual development group homes.

Curt Bicknell, PharmD and president of Guardian Mid-South Pharmacy, says the company takes about 90 percent of the medications it fills to its patients, unlike a retail pharmacy where customers pick up their medications.

“For 10 years, the Guardian Mid-South team has been dedicated to providing superior expertise and customer service to our clients, and we’ve succeeded as evidenced by our rapidly expanding customer base,” Bicknell said. “The new facility’s additional space will house our growing workforce and enhance operational efficiency, so that we can continue to provide innovative programs and medication management services to help our clients improve the lives of their residents.”

About 90 percent of the medications it provides are filled by automation in strip packaging, Bicknell said, so patients who take multiple medications can have their 8 a.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. meds packaged together. That makes it easier and more efficient for nurses in skilled and assisted living facilities to distribute meds to patients.

“Rather than having 10 different meds in 10 bottles that you are having to put on a medication cart and roll around to the patients,” he said.

Guardian was located behind St. Francis Hospital-Bartlett and began looking at the vacant Fred’s location about a year ago. Bicknell said they wanted to stay in Bartlett for several reasons, one being it is centrally located to its customer facilities and close to the interstate, so it made sense logistically. They also have a great partnership with the Bartlett Police Department.

“We feel very safe and secure in Bartlett. It was well worth staying in Bartlett and waiting a little longer to get the move done,” he said. “The Bartlett police force has been a tremendous partner for us in helping us feel safe. If one of our pharmacists has to come in at 2 o’clock in the morning, they’re willing to meet us there. They’ve been fantastic.”

Guardian Mid-South Pharmacy has served residents in assisted living, skilled nursing and behavioral health communities as well as individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities across Tennessee, eastern Arkansas and northern Mississippi since April 2012.

It is part of Guardian Pharmacy Services, one of the nation’s largest LTC pharmacy companies with 41 locations in 30 states.

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