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Canadian pharmacy association makes Justin Bates permanent CEO

BY Michael Johnsen

TORONTO – The Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada on Monday named Justin Bates as permanent CEO of the organization.

"I am very pleased to announce Justin's appointment as permanent CEO," stated Vivek Sood, board chair. "The board is confident that under his leadership, we will succeed in increasing member engagement, industry collaboration and developing evidence-based public policy solutions for all levels of governments, the private insurance sector and Canadian patients, who rely on the highest quality care in our neighbourhood pharmacies from coast to coast to coast."

Bates first joined the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores, as Neighbourhood Pharmacies was previously known, in 2006, and was named interim CEO in May 2016.  Since then, he has moved quickly to increase transparency and stakeholder collaboration, which are central themes of the Association in its advocacy initiatives.

Neighbourhood Pharmacies has identified the need for a new national pharmacy reimbursement strategy, and is currently laying the groundwork for a framework that will promote pharmacy growth while meeting the needs of public and private payors.  The Neighbourhood Pharmacies Executive Summit on October 27 and 28 in Toronto will be the first step of a multi-phased project to advance that new reimbursement model.

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Target shakeup: New chief digital officer is already out

BY Marianne Wilson

That was fast. 

Jason Goldberger, the recently promoted chief digital officer of Target Corp., has left the company, effective immediately.  No reason was given for his departure.

Goldberger's responsibilities will be split, with Target CIO Mike McNamara  overseeing the website and digital operations, and chief merchandising officer Mike Tritton taking on pricing and promotions.

“To provide clear accountability and speed up decision making, we will be transitioning Jason's responsibilities to two current leadership team members," Target CEO Brian Cornell said in a statement. “Taking this body of work in a new direction will help advance our efforts in these key areas during a pivotal time for Target.  I have complete confidence that Mike and Mark's leadership will have an immediate and positive impact on the team and the business."

Goldberger, who previously worked at Amazon, Hayneedle and Gilt Groupe, joined Target in 2013 as a senior VP of Target.com, and went on to be named Target.com president. In May 2016, he was appointed to the the newly created position of chief digital officer.  

Target’s online sales have been a bright spot for the chain, which has been challenged with sluggish total same-store sales. But its online growth has lagged behind Walmart. Target has said that it plans to spend $1.8 billion this year on improving its e-commerce operations.

Target is also looking to ramp up the pricing and promotions side of the business, which fell under Goldberger, the StarTribune reported. 

Goldberger’s departure  is the second recent high-profile departure at Target .  In August,  chief marketing officer Jeff Jones left the discounter to join ride-sharing pioneer Uber.

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Cardinal Health introduces 2017 Managed Care Advisory Panel

BY Michael Johnsen

DUBLIN, Ohio — Cardinal Health last week announced it is providing a pharmacy-centered approach to Medicare preferred access for 2017, balancing access and economics with the only Advisory Panel of pharmacy owners in the industry.

“Independent pharmacies no longer need to have preferred access to every Medicare Part D plan – only the plans that economically make sense for them,” stated Elie Bahou, VP managed care and business development at Cardinal Health. “We rely on our Managed Care Advisory Panel of independent pharmacy owners to select plans that make the most sense for our network. Network decisions are made by pharmacy owners for pharmacy owners.”

To make informed decisions on how to best serve the entire network of pharmacies and their patients, including more than 4,300 LeaderNET and Medicine Shoppe/Medicap pharmacy members, Cardinal Health relies on their Managed Care Advisory Panel. This group of independent pharmacy owners and network members utilize industry-leading data analytics for a 360-degree review of all of the proposed contracts for Cardinal Health.

“As reimbursement pressures continue, it is essential for us to continue to fight for our pharmacies and focus on their needs,” Bahou said. “Cardinal Health is the only Pharmacy Services Administrative Organization to have an advisory panel of independent pharmacy owners as decision makers on preferred access. The access our panel has accepted for 2017 will put our network of pharmacies in a position to succeed.”

In order to be successful, pharmacies need to take advantage of their time to talk with their patients during Medicare Open Enrollment, which begins Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7. This year, Cardinal Health partnered with Jason Kizer of Kizer Pharmacy in Tennessee to share best practices in becoming trusted advisors to patients during the Medicare Open Enrollment period.

“Pharmacists need to be able to provide patients with all of their Medicare Part D options, and help identify what works best for their patients’ unique needs. We know these patient conversations can be challenging, but with our tools, we can help pharmacists navigate the consultations by making prescription drug plan comparisons easier to use,” said Bahou.

In addition to Kizer Pharmacy’s best practices, pharmacists have access to several online tools and resources from Cardinal Health to ensure they are guiding patients to make informed decisions on Medicare drug plan options.

To help identify appropriate plans, Cardinal Health offers independent pharmacists:

  • Reimbursement Consulting Services, a service that improves reimbursement accuracy by managing and analyzing pharmacy's dispensing data. Through a new report, pharmacists can easily identify eligible patients for Medicare enrollment. Pharmacists can save time searching for eligible patients and spend more time having conversations with these patients when they come into the pharmacy. This integrated dashboard is a unique offering of Cardinal Health;
  • eHealth’s Medicare plan comparison tool, a free online resource that allows busy pharmacists to quickly and easily help their patients find the lowest cost Medicare prescription drug coverage plan to meet their specific prescription drug needs. In a fraction of the time required by other methods, the tool creates a custom plan comparison report, specific to the data entered for each patient, which shows the user health plan options that will save the most money for the patient; and
  • iMedicare, a platform integration system that identifies patients eligible to choose a Medicare plan, then generates a customized report within seconds. The iMedicare platform is offered at a discounted price for Cardinal Health PSAO members.

Cardinal Health provides a comprehensive suite of Managed Care services to thousands of independent and regional pharmacies – negotiating contracts on their behalf with health insurance plans and pharmacy benefits managers to help them increase prescription volume and gain access to new patients.          
 

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