Ingate Pharmacy closing doors

STAFF PHOTO BY DEDE BILES Breck Klein is closing his Ingate Professional Pharmacy on Laurens Street. He has accepted a position as a staff pharmacist at Rural Health Services’ William Clyburn Center for Primary Care.

An important chapter in Breck Klein’s career in pharmacy is coming to an end and a new one is about to begin.

Klein is shutting down his Ingate Professional Pharmacy on Laurens Street and going to work at Rural Health Services’ William Clyburn Center for Primary Care.

“It’s a merger of a sort, but I’ve been calling it a collaborative effort,” Klein said. “I will be taking a block of patients from the Tri-Development Center of Aiken County with me to the Clyburn Center, where I will be a staff pharmacist.”

Until later this month, it will be business as usual at Ingate.

“November 21 is the last day we will be filling prescriptions for the public, but someone will be here until the end of the year if people need to get their records or printouts for tax purposes,” Klein said.

Klein opened Ingate in 1998 after working at Lominick’s Pharmacy for about 20 years as the manager and the pharmacist in charge at Lominick’s.

“I’ve had a great career, and it’s been fun,” Klein said. “But I’m about to turn 60, and the Clyburn Center will be a place where I can finish out my career and transition into retirement.”

Changes in the health care industry contributed to Klein’s decision to close Ingate.

“Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements are getting lower and lower, and there are preferred pharmacy provider networks that are squeezing out all the independents,” Klein said. “The cost of insuring employees is very high, and we also have to have liability insurance. All of that adds up. The profit margins are disintegrating.”

In addition, the death of Klein’s wife, Charlotte, in June made it more difficult for him operate Ingate. They owned the pharmacy together, and she was in charge of administration and finances.

“I’ve had to take on more work and so have my employees,” Klein said. “It has made everything tougher.”

At the Clyburn Center, Klein said he’ll “have a chance to practice pharmacy a little bit more because I won’t have to deal with all of the extra things.”

Rural Health Services’ CEO, Carolyn Emanuel-McClain, is looking forward to having Klein on the Clyburn Center’s staff.

“There is nothing better than joining with someone who has been an outstanding member of the Aiken community for a long time and who embodies the same passions and principles as Rural Health Services,” she said.

Dede Biles is a general assignment reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since January 2013. A native of Concord, N.C, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.