Community pharmacist returns to Seaside

Jeff Chow and Damon Skogseth

Damon Skogseth, right, says pharmacist Jeff Chow went out of his way to help him with his medications.

Jeff Chow found his calling as a pharmacist in serving the members of his community well

By Sarah Bello, Marketing & Communications Specialist

If you ask David McCarthy, CMH Pharmacist Jeff Chow, PharmD, saved his life. 

Several years ago, Chow was working for Rite Aid in Seaside when McCarthy ran out of nitroglycerin and had an angina attack. Chow’s pharmacy didn’t have the medication in stock, so he drove to another store 20 minutes away to pick it up for McCarthy.

“He’s like the old family pharmacist,” McCarthy says. “He’s right out front, not hiding behind the counter. He’s always been a people-person, always had a smile on his face.”

A lasting connection

Over the years, McCarthy and Chow got to know each other well. So when Chow left Seaside last year to work for CMH, McCarthy changed pharmacies, too. Several other patients also followed Chow, Damon Skogseth among them.

Many years ago, Skogseth needed a regular medication to combat a drug addiction brought on after being injured in a motorcycle accident. He got hooked on his pain medication and became “a full-blown drug addict,” losing everything. After a decade of addiction, he completed treatment and moved to Astoria to be closer to family. He met Chow at Rite Aid and instantly liked him.

CMH Outpatient Pharmacy“He didn’t judge me for my past and was always very friendly,” Skogseth says. “Jeff went out of his way to search for discount codes and find ways to make my new medication more affordable. I would not have made it through that difficult time without Jeff’s help.”

Chow says Skogseth is the hero of his own story, but that he did everything he could to help him along the way. 

Skogseth and McCarthy say they will follow Chow again when he returns to Seaside to manage the CMH Community Pharmacy. The pharmacy will be in the CMH Medical Group — Seaside, which is currently under construction at the Seaside Outlet Mall. Both the clinic and the pharmacy will open in January 2020.

Serving the community

In becoming a pharmacist, Chow followed in the footsteps of his parents, Patricia and Felix Chow, who are both recently retired from the profession. 

As a teenager, he worked his first job at the Seaside Rite Aid pharmacy. That’s where he found his calling.

Chow recalls helping a patient whose prescription had been sent to the wrong pharmacy. First he helped transfer it to the correct location, then he spent two hours on the phone with her insurance company resolving another problem. 

“She pulled me aside and thanked me, stating this was the best customer service she has ever had,” Chow says. “From that moment, I knew I wanted to be a community pharmacist.”

Chow says his parents raised him to help others. While growing up, he watched people greet them with respect, thanks and smiles. He’s always wanted to know his community members as well as his parents did. He says he’s excited to return to Seaside, where he has cared for so many people. 

“I am honored that CMH has given me the opportunity to return to Seaside,” Chow says. “Every time I go out in public, I see one of my old customers and they tell me how much they miss me. It means a lot to me that I have been able to make that kind of impact on a patient’s life.”