Cumberland Vital Care’s Landon Headrick

Landon Headrick
Landon Headrick
Landon Headrick

CROSSVILLE – Landon Headrick was born and raised in Crossville. Now, he’s a local business owner there as well. After working as a clinical staff pharmacist at Cumberland Medical Center for five years, he recently purchased Cumberland Vital Care Pharmacy – which specializes in compounding, sterile compounding, and home infusion services, in short, filling in gaps that regular pharmacies sometimes create. While only a few months in, Headrick already has plans for growth in an increasingly difficult health care market, particularly for independent operations like his.

Q: Tell us about your first paying job? What did it entail?

A: When I was 16, I started mowing yards, and before long, I had built up enough clientele to really stay busy with it. While it wasn’t glamorous, it allowed me to learn several basic business principals and allowed me to see the importance of good customer service.

Q: How long have you been in business?

A: Cumberland Vital Care was formed in 1995. I purchased the pharmacy in January and have expanded its services since that time.

Q: Give a brief history/background of the business and its standing today.

A: We specialize in pharmaceutical compounding and home infusion. Home infusion therapy allows patients to receive IV drugs such as IV antibiotics, IV nutrition, IV chemotherapy and IV pain management at home instead of a hospital or clinical setting. People typically prefer being treated at home because their stress level is reduced, and they’re able to continue doing things they enjoy at home. Our home infusion division serves the Upper Cumberland, including Cumberland, Fentress, Overton, Putnam, White, Pickett and Clay as well as Meigs, Bledsoe, Roane, Morgan, Scott and Rhea counties. A typical patient is someone who needs an IV drug therapy for an extended period of time. We supply the patient with the medication, supplies and information and work with their home health nursing agency to ensure the treatment is safe and effective. We monitor patient labs and drug levels when pertinent to ensure optimum treatment.

Q: What makes you or your business different from others in the region (and beyond)?

A: We’re focused on findings solutions for problems that conventional pharmacies cannot. For example, we can compound medications that are no longer manufactured, hard to obtain or need to be modified for the patient’s health. We can put medications in dosage forms that are not commercially available. We also do sterile compounding. This usually includes drugs that are going to be injected or infused.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges in your industry at the moment?

A: Prescription insurance. Several insurances do not cover compounding. Also, higher deductible plans and higher co-pays are making it increasingly difficult for our patients to get medication they need. We work with patients to find an affordable solution by either switching to a lower cost medication or simply informing them of a manufactured drug that might work.

Q: What do you wish you had known before you started your business/career?

A: Setbacks are common and frequent. However, I have learned they are great learning experiences, and for that I am thankful. Small business can be a tough environment. I have a deeper respect and appreciation for people who take a chance and open up their own business. I think it’s important we support each other when we can.

Q: Are there any plans for expansion (new products? Other locations?) If not, what is the next big goal?

A: Within the next year we hope to expand more into a specialty pharmacy. A lot of drugs in the pipeline are going to be specialty, including several injectables and infusion drugs.

Q: Where’s your favorite place to be outside the office?

A: I enjoy getting out in the country on back roads traveling to patients’ homes. Our coverage area is broad enough that we get to see a lot of pretty scenic areas.

Q: Is it increasingly challenging – in the health care sector – to stay independent?

A: In some ways, yes. While I generally feel people appreciate the idea of an independent pharmacy or small business, much of the health care industry is going to a system-based model. With this, it can sometimes be hard to find your niche.

Q: Do you have a favorite hobby?

A: I enjoy playing guitar, boating and I also have an interest in home remodeling and design. We recently renovated our Homestead house in Crossville and really enjoyed the challenge of preserving its history.

Q: What’s your favorite place outside the office?

A: I enjoy getting out in the country on back roads traveling to patients’ homes. Our coverage area is broad enough that we get to see a lot of pretty scenic areas.

Q: What is your next big goal (either personally, professionally or both)?

A: I hope to become a board certified in pharmacotherapy within the next year.

Q: What’s something that would surprise people about you?

A: I did a lot of the actual labor when we remodeled our pharmacy building, with the help of family and friends. Construction included building a USP 797 Sterile Compounding Suite, which is required for sterile compounding. After looking at hiring a construction consultant for the 797 Suite, we weighed the options and costs, and decided to build it ourselves.

Q: Use one word to describe yourself. 

A: Persistent

[list type=”check”]

  • Name: Landon Headrick
  • Age: 32
  • Title/occupation: Owner/Pharmacist
  • Name of business: Cumberland Vital Care
  • Address: 336 S. Main St., Crossville
  • Family members: Wife, Tessa
  • Education: Microbiology, University Of Tennessee Knoxville; Pharm.D, University of Tennessee Memphis

[/list]

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Liz Engel is the editor of the Upper Cumberland Business Journal. She can be reached at liz@ucbjournal.com