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How one Delaware County community is fighting for expanded medical access

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HANCOCK (WBNG) -- In a rural area with limited medical options, limiting those options even further is the last thing residents want.

Last July, Walgreens in Hancock announced it would be reducing its pharmacy hours, closing at 7 p.m. during the week and closing entirely on the weekend. A year later, those hours remain the same.

As the only full-service pharmacy for dozens of miles, residents told 12 News they've had to resort to traveling to Binghamton or Pennsylvania if they can't make it to the Walgreens.

As a result, the Hancock Partners, the group responsible for economic development in the area, has sent a letter to Walgreens CEO, Roz Brewer, asking her to consider expanding the pharmacy hours back to their pre-pandemic schedule.

Officials said for people who have problems with transportation, the limited hours pose an even greater challenge.

"To get their medications or a COVID shot, they have to drive a good 45 minutes to an hour to other Walgreens or CVS to receive that, and that's really, especially for the older folks, difficult to do," said Dr. Robert Sintich, one of the Hancock Partners.

Besides the full-time residents, there are several summer camps in the surrounding area. For French Woods Festival, an overnight performing arts summer camp, no access after seven or on weekends can turn a minor medical incident into an emergency.

"We have had a number of occasions where not having the ability to fill a prescription nearby as had an impact on our operation," said Michael Knauf, director of the camp.

There is also a petition circulating the community, with the goal of gathering signatures to send it to the Walgreens CEO as well.

Josh Rosenblatt

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