PHARMACY

Up to 45,000 Nebraska state employees to regain access to Walgreens with health plan switch

BY Michael Johnsen

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska officials on Wednesday announced the state will switch health insurance carriers from Blue Cross/Blue Shield to United Healthcare, effective July 1, according to reports.

Access to Walgreens pharmacies played a significant role in that decision, according to Carlos Castillo, head of the Nebraska Department of Administrative Services. More than half of the 15,000 state employees and 30,000 dependents presently have their prescriptions filled at a Walgreens pharmacy, according to the report. "When [access to Walgreens pharmacies] stopped at the end of December, it was a huge, huge change — and employees were very vocal about it," Castillo told the Associated Press.

The move is expected to save the state $8 million per year, or about 5%. That cost savings should reach state employees by way of lower premiums, Castillo said.

 

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PHARMACY

Walgreens partners on adherence pilot with Greystone Healthcare Management

BY Michael Johnsen

LADY LAKE, Fla. — Walgreens and Greystone Healthcare Management on Thursday launched a collaborative therapy management pilot program at the Lady Lake Specialty Center in Lady Lake, Fla., aimed at enhancing medication adherence and reducing readmission rates for patients in post-acute care settings.

“Discharge from a hospital or post-acute care setting can be a hectic time for patients and their families, and sometimes it’s difficult to make a trip to the pharmacy or to understand a new medication regimen,” said Scott Clark, VP strategy and implementation for Greystone Healthcare Management. “Having a clinically-trained pharmacist deliver prescriptions and information directly to a patient’s bedside makes compliance easier, and an ongoing dialogue with the pharmacist helps patients and caretakers transition to a new setting.”

“Walgreens pharmacists are experts at helping patients understand and adhere to their medication therapy programs,” added Marlin Hutchens, Walgreens market VP for Florida. “By expanding beyond our thousands of community pharmacies and into innovative healthcare settings like Greystone’s Lady Lake Specialty Center, we’ve demonstrated the valuable role our pharmacists can play as part of a patient’s care team, helping to improve outcomes while reducing costs.”

The program utilizes Walgreens community pharmacists to deliver medication and directly counseling to patients prior to discharge from the 145-bed Lady Lake center. Following discharge, patients will receive a follow-up call from a Walgreens pharmacist within 72 hours to help them understand and comply with their medication therapies.

Similar Walgreens programs in hospital settings have driven improvement in patient care and satisfaction, as well as significant increases in Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems scores, Walgreens noted.

Upon review of the results of the program at the Lady Lake Specialty Center, Greystone will explore expansion of the Walgreens medication therapy management program to additional settings within its 2,727-bed network of skilled rehabilitation facilities throughout the nation.


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Sen. Mark Pryor, columnist Mort Kondracke to address NACDS RxImpact Day attendees

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has announced that it will hold its fourth annual NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill on March 21 to 22 in Washington, D.C.

The event will bring pharmacists, pharmacy leaders, students and other pharmacy advocates to meet with lawmakers to discuss the value of community pharmacy in improving health and reducing healthcare costs across the board.

“Just as community pharmacy highlights the value of the patient-pharmacist relationship, there is a high value placed on the interaction of pharmacy advocates engaging with lawmakers,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said. “The NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill is an important opportunity for community pharmacy advocates to engage with lawmakers on pro-patient, pro-pharmacy issues.”

During the two-day event, pharmacy advocates will conduct hundreds of individual meetings with lawmakers and their staffs on behalf of community pharmacy.  Advocates will discuss a variety of issues including medication therapy management, protecting fair and accurate reimbursement in the Medicaid program and issues related to pharmacy benefit managers.

This year’s event also will include insights on the health care and pharmacy landscape in this Presidential election year.  Roll Call political columnist and television personality from “The McLaughlin Group” and Fox News Channel Mort Kondracke will address attendees during the Welcome Dinner on March 21.

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., will serve as the keynote speaker at the Breakfast Briefing on March 22.  Sen. Pryor is the sponsor of the bipartisan legislation S. 1058, the Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act of 2011, which would preserve pharmacy choice for patients and take additional steps to prevent threats to pharmacy patient care.

“Community pharmacies are located in every congressional district across the country, providing important patient services that help improve health and reduce costs including medication counseling, vaccinations and health screenings. We urge pharmacy advocates to engage on key issues that impact community pharmacy and patient care by participating in the NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill,” Anderson added.


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