Reaching a Milestone

Browning’s Pharmacy & Health Care celebrates 50 years in business, offering unique pharmaceutical services and a wide range of medical equipment and supplies

In 1962, armed with a pharmaceutical degree from the University of Florida, George Browning launched Browning’s Pharmacy & Health Care, a business that at the time he referred to as a “Medical Arts Pharmacy.” The father of four children and husband to Jeannine, a rancher and cookbook author, George Browning’s mission was to provide upstanding pharmaceutical and customer services to Melbourne and the surrounding communities. Today, 50 years later, Browning’s is still known for these traits, as well as its offerings of a wide variety of medical equipment and supplies to aid a range of health care needs.

“We are all proud to have been here so long,” says Colleen Hunter, George Browning’s youngest daughter who took over operations of Browning’s last year. Hunter holds a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Florida and worked as CFO of the company for 17 years before assuming the role as president.

THE BROWNING’S DIFFERENCE

“I think what makes us different is our service and delivery. We try to carry medications that others may not stock. We aim to fill prescriptions faster than the chains do, and we offer compounding and special packaging for people who require multiple prescriptions,” Hunter explains, adding that the pharmacy also offers an automated refill system for customers and doctors.

While pharmaceuticals are still at the core of Browning’s, over the years the company has greatly expanded and diversified its product offerings and services to include an array of high-quality home medical equipment and supplies, such as hospital beds and walkers; products for the diabetic community including specialty shoes and test strips; respiratory services like nebulizers and ventilators; custom wheelchairs and scooters; as well as home and vehicle adaptations including ramps and stair climbers.

In addition, Browning’s is known for free delivery, assembly and education of its products.

“When people walk in the door, they don’t always expect the variety and diversity of our products and services,” explains Hunter, adding that the company’s website recently added a shopping cart which will initially offer basic medical equipment. The site’s online offerings will expand over time.

A DEDICATED TEAM

Having expanded twice in its current location on E. Hibiscus Blvd., Browning’s is now a 27,000 square-foot facility. The company employs 62 staff members with three pharmacists (including George Browning), as well as two respiratory therapists and three Assistive Technology Providers (ATPs) for wheelchairs. Many staff members have been with the company for over 15 years, and each employee is heavily involved in continual training and education on equipment and regulatory issues to keep up with the ever-changing industry.

“Many people have questions, and you can’t get them answered by employees who are not trained,” says Hunter. “It takes a number of years to be fully trained on insurance coverage and products, and you will never know it all due to the amount of manufacturer changes. But everyone always wants the latest and greatest products and we have to be ready … Our entire team is dedicated, knowledgeable and caring people.”

To celebrate the years of service among its employees – specifically, 619 combined years of experience over the past 50 years – Browning’s is hosting an Employee Celebration event, a Customer Appreciation event in April and a Professional / Referral event in May to thank community members for their years of dedicated business.

On the immediate horizon, Hunter is mainly focused on staying abreast of regulatory issues – namely overcoming Medicare and Medicaid hurdles – with an eye on further growth and expansion as much as possible. “Staying alert and active is critical with regulatory bids and insurance companies’ low reimbursements,” she
says. “We pride ourselves on knowledge and providing quality products and hope to continue to do so in the future … We will continue to keep diversified and prove that knowledge and service can still be key to success.”

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