By Tristan Hiegler
Infusion Solutions, Inc.
Owner: Rowena Birnel, RPh
Start Date: April 21, 2010
Square Footage: 2,700
Address: 134 Prince Ave., Suite B, Bellingham
Phone: (360) 933-4892
Do you require infusion therapy? If so, a new business is giving Whatcom County patients some new options.
Infusion therapy, the practice of injecting medicine and treatments directly into a patient’s bloodstream via IV, helps many of those who suffer from deeply rooted infections and other ailments. Now, Infusion Solutions is here to help.
Rowena Birnel, owner and president of Infusion Solutions, graduated from the University of Washington School of Pharmacy in 1988 and after briefly working in a retail pharmacy, and found it was not to her liking.
“I thought I was going to be the world’s greatest retail pharmacist, did it for three weeks — hated it,” she said.
She went on to work at the Veterans Administration Hospital for eight years and then a home infusion provider, OptionCare, for 13 years. OptionCare was later bought by Walgreens, so Birnel decided to start her own home infusion business.
Birnel said Infusion Solutions’ mission is to provide high quality and cost effective home infusion care for its patients in Island, Skagit and Whatcom counties. She said the focus is on the needs of the community and to provide the community with another option in home infusion care.
“The patient should be No. 1,” Birnel said.
Birnel said this treatment is useful to people with deep rooted infections that oral medicines can’t treat effectively, and that infusion therapy can provide a broader spectrum of medicine in general then pills someone has to swallow.
Birnel said each patient’s therapy is uniquely tailored to their needs. Treatments are prepared in Infusion Solutions’ clean room with its fully stocked pharmacy.
Patients can come into Infusion Solutions’ offices and receive their treatment in one of the three private treatment suites. Each suite offers patients a comfortable spa-like setting, complete with wireless Internet access, cable TV and a DVD player, Birnel said.
Alternatively, nursing staff can come to a patient’s home and administer treatments there. Nurses can also educate patients on how to administer treatments themselves in their homes. Birnel said this allows patients to have a more flexible schedule. Some patients require infusions of their treatments several times a day or at odd hours, which can make coming into a clinic or hospital inconvenient. Birnel said by self-administering their treatments, patients manage to retain their mobility and independence.
Patients can even go on vacation while on their treatments, provided they coordinate with Infusion Solutions staff and grab enough of their medicine and other supplies before taking off.
Birnel said patients who are administering their own treatments have access 24/7 to nurses on call, who can be reached by calling Infusion Solutions. The nursing staff can provide technical assistance as any equipment breaks down and replace depleted medicine reserves.
Birnel said Infusion Solutions is currently working on getting its Medicare number and coordinating with other hospitals in the area in order to better serve the needs of patients through home infusion care.