PHARMACY

McKesson Health Solutions enables cloud-based implementations for InterQual Criteria

BY Michael Johnsen

NEWTON, Mass.— McKesson Health Solutions on Tuesday announced that InterQual Criteria is now accessible on-demand through new cloud-based implementations of InterQual Online, InterQual Anonymous Review and InterQual Transparency. This transition brings the benefits of cloud computing to InterQual customers, including multi-tenant access via popular web browsers, automatic updates and reduced maintenance requirements.

The objective, evidence-based medical and behavioral health clinical content can now be utilized via SaaS (software as a service) technology. With secure, fast cloud access, it’s now easier than ever to use InterQual Criteria — including Level of Care, Planning and Behavioral Health criteria — to help make appropriate care decisions across the medical and behavioral health levels of care, as well as assist in improving care planning, McKesson stated.

“This transition to the cloud continues our commitment to invest in technology solutions that help streamline care management,” stated Nilo Mehrabian, VP product management at McKesson Health Solutions. “Forty years ago, InterQual debuted as books that users would page through and annotate. Today you can access InterQual Criteria through a variety of applications and platforms, from desktop PCs to mobile devices to connected automated services and, now, via the cloud. We’re committed to ensuring our customers can get fast, easy access to the InterQual Criteria they need when and where they need it.”

InterQual evidence-based criteria and technology solutions help improve clinical decision-making and care management across the medical and behavioral health continuums of care. The InterQual clinical development team synthesizes the most current, best evidence into a fully referenced decision support tool. InterQual’s development process is founded on rigorous review of the literature, and includes extensive peer review by practicing clinical experts across the United States.
 

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FlavoRx names new COO

BY David Salazar
COLUMBIA, Md. — FlavoRx’s board of directors has named Michael Seay the new COO of FlavoRx and FillPure, the company announced Thursday. Seay has worked as an executive on the company’s leadership team for 15 years. 
 
In his new role, Seay will work to drive more FlavoRx and FillPure operations and sales marketing programs, with particular focus on expanding the lines of business, among them the new FillPure in-pharmacy technical services product line and the company's West Coast operations.
 
“Throughout his tenure at FLAVORx and Fillmaster, Mike has demonstrated an innate ability to provide thoughtful insight and strategic thinking to our business,” FlavoRx and Fillmaster Systems president and CEO Stuart Amos said. “Expanding Mike’s authority, and giving him the ability to focus on higher-level initiatives, creates tremendous value for our business and improves how we operate as a supplier to thousands of pharmacies across the country.”
 
Seay was most recently SVP operations, where he built FlavoRx’s supply chain and grew its partnership with FillMaster Systems. He played a key role in the development and implementation of FillPure, as well as the development of the new, fully automated FlavorMaster machine. 
 
“I’m excited and honored to take on this role and look forward to continuing our focus on the connection between FLAVORx, FillMaster Systems and FillPure,” Seay said. “These programs – specifically the FlavorMaster – are game changers that really help pharmacies save time and better serve their patients with improved adherence and using the best water quality. Our strategy going forward really strengthens the connection between these three companies and will drive the adoption rates and the growth of all of our programs.”
 

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CDC report underscores value provider status legislation would hold for rural America

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — In what may be a serendipitous turn of events, on the same day the Senate re-introduced provider status legislation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report outlining the disparities between medically underserved communities in rural areas vs. their urban center counterparts.

According to the CDC, Americans living in rural areas have a higher mortality rate than their urban counterparts. “This new study shows there is a striking gap in health between rural and urban Americans,” stated CDC Director Tom Frieden. “To close this gap, we are working to better understand and address the health threats that put rural Americans at increased risk of early death.”

While the agency explores the disparity between rural Americans and urbanites, Congress can help close that gap by passing provider status legislation, especially as the impact this provider status regulation can have on rural communies was not lost on the bill's sponsors.

“A lot of people in rural Iowa have easier access to a pharmacist than a doctor,” stated Sen. Grassley, R-Iowa.  “Where that pharmacist is licensed to provide a service, Medicare ought to pay the pharmacist for it.  That’s what this bill does.  It’s good for pharmacists because they get paid for providing services to rural seniors.  It’s good for rural seniors because they keep access to their local pharmacist and don’t have to go to the  doctor for straightforward medication management.”
 
“Across the country and in Pennsylvania pharmacists play a critical role in helping seniors receive access to routine healthcare services like wellness checks,” added Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. “This legislation will aid those in rural communities who may not live in close proximity to the doctor but do have regular contact with their pharmacist. I’m hopeful that Congress will move forward on this commonsense legislation in the coming year.”  

“Seniors in rural Ohio shouldn’t have to travel long distances to see their doctor for a simple health screening when the pharmacist down the street can offer the same services,” noted Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. “We can better serve our seniors and taxpayers by cutting through the red tape and giving seniors more choice on where they go for care.”

“Pharmacists are highly trained professionals and the most accessible health care providers for patients,” stated Douglas Hoey, CEO National Community Pharmacists Association, in a release issued Friday in support of the provider status legislation. “Many states allow pharmacists to provide services such as health and wellness screenings, immunizations and chronic disease state management," he said. "This legislation would expand access for seniors to these basic services at their pharmacy and free physicians in these underserved communities [both rural and urban] to focus their attention on other health needs.”

According to the NCPA 2016 Digest, sponsored by Cardinal Health, 32% of independent community pharmacies are located in population areas of less than 20,000 people, 50% are located in areas of populations between 20,000 and 50,000, and collectively over 80% are serving areas with population centers of less than 50,000.

In addition, Medicaid which has disproportionate number of patients in rural areas, comprises 17% of the average independent pharmacy's business, which is much higher than their chain counterparts. 

Approximately 1,800 rural independent pharmacies serve as the only pharmacy provider in their community, with the next closest pharmacy many miles away, NCPA noted.

According to the CDC report, the 15% of the U.S. population who live in rural areas, representing some 46 million Americans, are more likely to die from five leading causes than their urban counterparts.

The agency found in 2014, many deaths among rural Americans were potentially preventable, including 25,000 from heart disease, 19,000 from cancer, 12,000 from unintentional injuries, 11,000 from chronic lower respiratory disease and 4,000 from stroke. The percentages of deaths that were potentially preventable were higher in rural areas than in urban areas.

"Many independent pharmacies serve traditionally underserved rural and urban communities and are particularly well positioned to administer to the basic health care needs of these populations," Hoey said. "[That makes provider status] common-sense bipartisan legislation that improves access to care and should be swiftly enacted.”

To help close the gap outside of legislation, the CDC recommended healthcare providers in rural areas can:

  • Screen patients for high blood pressure and make control a quality improvement goal. High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke;Increase cancer prevention and early detection;
  • Rural healthcare providers should participate in the state-level comprehensive control coalitions. Comprehensive cancer control programs focus on cancer prevention, education, screening, access to care, support for cancer survivors and overall good health;
  • Encourage physical activity and healthy eating to reduce obesity. Obesity has been linked to a variety of serious chronic illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer and arthritis;
  • Promote smoking cessation. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States and is the most significant risk factor for chronic lower respiratory disease; and
  • Engage in safer prescribing of opioids for pain. Healthcare providers should follow the CDC guideline when prescribing opioids for chronic pain and educate patients on the risks and benefits of opioids and using nonpharmacologic therapies to provide greater benefit.

 

The Health Resources and Services Administration, which houses the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, will collaborate with CDC on the series and will help to promote the findings and recommendations to rural communities, CDC stated.

“We have seen increasing rural-urban disparities in life expectancy and mortality emerge in the past few years. CDC’s focus on these critical rural health issues comes at an important time,” said Health Resources and Services Administration acting administrator Jim Macrae.

 

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