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Healthcare Hero of the Month: July

 In Blog

“It’s All About The Patients!”

~ Mike Estala (Pharmacist In Charge)

It’s a hot summer morning in El Paso, Texas and Pharmacist in Charge, Mike Estala turns the lights on in the pharmacy and looks forward to another day of doing what he loves: helping people feel better.

For the first 15 years of his career, Mike worked for Walgreens Pharmacy.  While he loved what he did, there just seemed to be something missing.  “I felt that I couldn’t truly help people and it got to the point that I was encouraged to limit how much I engaged with the patients.”

In 2006, Mike found his home here at ReCept where his passion for engaging with and caring for patients could flourish.  Since his arrival, Mike has played an integral role in building the ReCept brand and helped establish a Specialty retail pharmacy in the El Paso community.

Rain or shine, Mike devotes everyday to ensuring that his patients feel comfortable and are receiving the care they deserve.  He will regularly give out his private number so doctors’ offices can reach him after hours or on holidays.  If a patient requires their medication after the pharmacy is closed, Mike is the one to turn around and go back.  In the event a courier is not available, he has even hand-delivered patients their prescriptions.  To say that Mike goes above and beyond the call of duty for his patients is an understatement.  

Mike’s commitment to his patients is evident to everyone.  A RN of a HepC patient they treated stated that “Mike was in contact throughout the whole process that took almost a year. Who does that?” 

While there are many reasons, he loves his job, “the most rewarding part is helpings patients get rid of their copay.” He can tell too many stories of people who were informed by their insurance that they will take care of their medications, but they still have to pay thousands for their copay.  To be so close to a cure and thwarted due to financial reasons is very frustrating and disheartening. 

“This is where I have to really dig in and ask myself what else can I do for the patient? What else is out there? We can’t take no for an answer because we know that we are dealing with a cure.”  Mike will help his patients battle the insurance companies and navigate them through programs that will help cover the cost.

To Mike, a patient is a patient and they should all be treated the same.  That is why he will work on prescriptions he won’t dispense or fill.  “Sometimes these other companies become too big to the point when the patient gets lost amongst the masses. We don’t get anything out of working on scripts and co-pay assistance that we may ultimately transfer to another pharmacy, but we ensure the patient gets the care they deserve. That is where the passion comes from; knowing that I did all I could to make sure that that patient was going to get treated.”

In addition to his passion for his patients, Mike also acts as a mentor to his team.  Over the years, he has absorbed a wealth of knowledge that encompasses almost every aspect of the business and tries to impart that experience to others. “I try to get my crew involved in as many parts of the business as possible to help them become well rounded. Several have even gone on to be promoted up through the company.”

Thank you Mike for always going above and beyond and representing everything that ReCept stands for. You are a true Healthcare Hero and we are lucky to have you!