OMAHA, Neb. Retail pharmacy Hy-Vee and specialty pharmacy Amber earlier this week announced the two companies would partner on a joint venture — to be called Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions — that will offer specialty pharmacy services through Hy-Vee’s retail stores.
“Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions builds a bridge between two different segments of the pharmacy business,” stated Bob Egeland, VP pharmacy operations for Hy-Vee. “We’re bringing together experts from retail pharmacy and specialty pharmacy to offer more convenient, more personalized service for patients with complex healthcare needs.”
Bill Kaplan, Jr., COO of Amber Pharmacy, suggested Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions is unique because it provides “true continuity of care” for patients who are accustomed to dealing with different pharmacy providers in different locations.
“Because Hy-Vee and Amber operate on a common platform, Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions will be able to handle all of a patient’s pharmacy needs through one point of contact – the Hy-Vee pharmacist,” Kaplan said. “Medication therapy management services can take place in a face-to-face setting, rather than on the phone or through the mail, and patients will have access to diet and nutrition services offered in Hy-Vee stores. It’s a personalized, whole-health approach to specialty pharmacy that represents a major departure from the traditional care model.”
Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions will support a wide range of complex, chronic conditions including oncology, blood disorders, Crohn’s disease, growth hormone, hemophilia, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other chronic conditions. Because medications for these conditions are injected, infused, high-cost, or otherwise difficult to manage, most retail pharmacies refer patients to one of a few specialty pharmacy providers that have expertise in this area. Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions will help patients manage these conditions by assigning a health care team – an enrollment specialist, pharmacist, patient care coordinator and billing coordinator – to develop an individualized plan for the patient’s clinical care, insurance and financial administrative assistance, educational materials and resources, and follow-up care. This comprehensive approach allows patients to obtain all their medications and services from one source, resulting in greater adherence to the prescribed therapy, improved health, and faster recovery.
Specialty pharmacy is a growing sector of the pharmacy business. In 2003, prescriptions in this category made up about 5% of total prescriptions filled; by 2007, that figure had doubled to 10%, and it is expected to double again to 20% by 2011, the companies reported.