COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Equitas Health, a regional nonprofit healthcare system tailored to the LGBTQ+ community, is planning to build its first freestanding pharmacy in the Short North. 

Equitas will renovate a vacant property at 1015 North High Street purchased for about $3 million last December. The single-story, 1,800-square-foot building is next to Equitas’ Short North Medical Center

Nick Saltsman, interim chief pharmacy officer for Equitas, said he hopes the expansion opens services to those who don’t use its pharmacy. 

“We do have a pharmacy in the medical center building currently in the Short North, but there’s a lot of people in the area that don’t realize we have a pharmacy that’s open door,” Saltsman said. “Anyone can come use that pharmacy, whether they are a patient of our medical center or not.” 

On July 13, Equitas presented the renovation proposal to the Victorian Village Commission. The proposal includes updating the exterior of the building to a more modern design, modifications to the parking lot, and more. Plans also call for a new drive-thru window, marking the first Equitas location to offer drive-thru service.

“The Short North area does not have a pharmacy drive-thru,” Saltsman said. “It will open up access to a lot of other people who otherwise can’t come in to pick up their prescriptions.” 

Saltsman said the commission provided feedback and was “impressed” with the proposal. Equitas hopes to receive approval from the commission in the next couple of months and begin the eight- to 10-month construction process, opening next summer. 

As a specialty pharmacy, Equitas can fill prescriptions for medication requiring additional training from the pharmacy team. Saltsman described Equitas as an “open door, community” pharmacy where patients can meet and work with the pharmacy team. 

“We offer a lot more hands-on services, we spend a lot more time with our patients,” Saltsman said. “We’re working to make sure patients understand their meds, they get the best outcomes, and then also that they can afford their meds.” 

Equitas is dedicated to ensuring no one ever leaves the pharmacy without their medications because of cost and works with several assistance programs

Equitas’ footprint sprawls across Ohio with additional medical centers in Cincinnati and Dayton and providers in Akron, Athens, Canton, Lima, Mansfield, and more. While Equitas provides a safe space for LGBTQ+ individuals, its services, including primary care, mental health, and dentistry, are open to all.