AAP pursues ‘road to true independence’

Its leaders and member-owners call it “the newest and best independent pharmacy cooperative in the nation.” It’s certainly one of the largest.

American Associated Pharmacies was created in September 2009, the result of the merger of United Drugs and Associated Pharmacies, or API. The combined co-op offers its members “additional buying leverage” and a “larger network of pharmacies for managed care contracting.” The overriding goal: to enhance members’ “profitability and survivability” by wielding the combined clout of its 2,000 affiliate drug stores.

Said AAP president and CEO Jon Copeland, “true independence today can be gained only with interdependence with a true cooperative that is owned by its members.”

Among the core services offered to those members, a spokesman said, are a massive warehouse and distribution center in Alabama — a legacy of API — along with a managed-care contracting program that delivers “analysis and negotiation of all contracts,” and “gross margin analysis and responsive third-party reimbursement issue resolution.”

In addition, said AAP spokesman Brett Doucette, there is a growing list of “back-office services.” Among them:

A billing reconciliation service called TrueScript Reconciler that helps with processing of centrally paid claims, along with a reporting system to monitor receivables and manage collections;

A sophisticated order-entry system called Scan & Toss that links stores with the API warehouse and AAP’s primary wholesaler, Cardinal Health, via use of a hand-held scanner that automatically searches for product availability and the lowest price before placing the order;

A service called ProfitMinder that tracks down billing errors and other inefficiencies that could be draining members’ profit dollars; and

An increasingly sophisticated planogram and shelf-slotting service that connects independents with rebate opportunities from OTC manufacturers.

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