Q&A with Stephen Courtman: The next steps for Health Mart


DSN talks to Health Mart president Stephen Courtman about how Health Mart is helping its members stay competitive through new programs and services aimed at improving patient lives and growing profits.

DSN: What is new for Health Mart members at McKesson ideaShare this year?

Steve Courtman: One of the themes of McKesson ideaShare this year is “Better pharmacy health starts here.” The attendees truly come to learn and collaborate, reinforcing our shared commitment to achieving better pharmacy health. For Health Mart members and prospects, we are here to show them how they can run a better business with Health Mart, achieve better results with Health Mart and create a better future with Health Mart. Ultimately, by leveraging our scale and proving value to our customers, we firmly believe that our members are better together with Health Mart.

We’ll feature a full range of solutions for all McKesson ideaShare attendees, but I want to focus on a few that are specifically designed to help Health Marts compete locally and position themselves as a healthcare destination.

We are very excited about our new Local Marketing Support program, which provides more flexible matching funds for marketing expenses. Matching funds can now be applied to a whole catalog of customizable promotions and hands-on support from local marketing specialists. The new program will make it easier for pharmacies to grow their business by attracting new patients and driving new revenue.

We also have invested heavily in digital marketing tools with the re-launch of and Your Pharmacy Online. Now, our members have access to powerful online tools that offer a professional and contemporary online presence — without having to spend a fortune. We’ll also unveil a new Your Pharmacy Online offering at the show, so stay tuned for more on that.

DSN: Health Mart recently passed 3,000 stores. What’s next?

Courtman: Rapidly growing from a few hundred pharmacies to more than 3,100, Health Mart has been a compelling success story in retail pharmacy over the past several years. Much of this success has been driven through the commitment of Health Mart owners and pharmacists to delivering exceptional customer service. And we are very proud of our member pharmacies for being ranked highest in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates for the third time in four years.

It is our job to leverage this success and passion by continuing to deliver innovative solutions that help them address their most pressing needs — fueling their growth and success through the rapid adoption of operational efficiencies, technology innovation and expanded clinical capabilities. With the changing dynamics in the industry, Health Mart must be more unified than ever, leveraging the national brand and commitment to personalized service. The key to Health Mart’s future is collaboration — and McKesson ideaShare is a great place to start.

DSN: How is Health Mart helping member pharmacies stay competitive by offering new types of services to patients?

Courtman: This is a critical time for retail pharmacies to leverage their role as healthcare service providers, and we believe the pharmacies that will stay competitive will consistently deliver clinical interactions that improve patient health while managing costs. Health Marts, and all community pharmacies, must leverage their local relationships to maximize existing clinical services and adopt emerging clinical services that provide additional value.

We have an entire section of the Health Mart pavilion at McKesson ideaShare devoted to clinical services and adherence solutions. Attendees will learn more about how they can deliver enhanced patient support, including vaccinations programs, adherence training and behavior coaching, refill reminders, medication synchronization and compliance packaging.

DSN: What are the biggest opportunities for Health Mart members in the coming year?

Courtman: Whether we look at it as an opportunity or a challenge, the growing movement to accountable care and performance-based networks will likely be the major focus over the coming year. As payers transition from transaction-based reimbursement, their expectations also are shifting to focus on outcomes and results. In order to control the cost of care, payers will control where they send their “lives.”

As Health Mart, we will need to act in unity and deliver measurable clinical performance that demonstrates to payers that we can make an impact on clinical care and results. And finally, we must continue to grow and maintain our national identity so that patients understand that Health Mart is a destination for personalized, quality care.

Prior to joining Health Mart, Courtman served as SVP retail markets at Medco Health Solutions, where he was responsible for contracting with independent and chain pharmacies and the creation of pharmacy networks to deliver value to plan sponsors. Under his leadership, Medco invested in technology and infrastructure to support aggressive growth and respond to the industry’s changing landscape. Previously, Courtman served in various capacities in the aerospace, automotive, healthcare and restaurant-franchise industries. He earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of London and an MBA from the University of Michigan.


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KEY LEARNING: Preview of key CE lessons at MiS 2013

BY Antoinette Alexander

Attendees of this year’s McKesson ideaShare 2013 will have access to more than 30 accredited continuing pharmacy education courses that offer invaluable insights into the latest thinking and best practices from experts in clinical services, new drug therapies, marketing, merchandising, financial management and succession planning. The continuing education at McKesson ideaShare 2013, which is provided by the Collaborative Education Institute, will be offered June 26 to June 29. The Collaborative Education Institute is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing education.

Highlights of this year’s continuing education offerings include:

Public Policy Forum. Are you uncertain how community pharmacy can best prepare for the rapidly approaching implementation of healthcare reform? Don’t miss this critical discussion led by healthcare and policy experts who will examine key federal and state policy issues relevant to community pharmacy, healthcare reform, how to prepare your pharmacy for 2014 and how to stay abreast of public policy issues relevant to the success of your business. Guest speaker John Kingsdale, Ph.D., a key contributor to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and a leader in the 2006 implementation of Massachusetts’ healthcare reform legislation, will share anecdotes from his experiences, with an aim to help community pharmacists seize the opportunities created by healthcare reform. This session will be held June 29 from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. and is worth 1.25 hours (0.125 CEU) of live CPE credits.

Best Practices — How Successful Pharmacy Managers Make It Happen! This practice-based session gives attendees an opportunity to pick up insights from on-site visits and interviews with successful pharmacy owners from across the country. Presenter Bruce Kneeland, national account manager for Epicor Software Solutions, will discuss curb appeal, merchandising, technology, referrals from healthcare professionals, managing employees and free publicity. This session will be held June 27 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and is worth 1.5 hours (0.15 CEU) of live CPE credits.

Legislative and Regulatory Update 2013. Need help navigating the legislative and regulatory landscape and how it will impact pharmacy? Mark Kinney, R.Ph., VP of government affairs for the Independent Pharmacy Cooperative, and Jim Driscoll, director of state government affairs of the Independent Pharmacy Cooperative, will provide attendees with an update on recent government policy decisions, including how new laws and regulations impact the practice of pharmacy. Upon completion of this session, pharmacists should be able to, among other things, discuss the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 provision to pay retail pharmacies the national mail-order competitive bid rate for diabetic test strips and explain the Average Actual Acquisition Cost (AAC) pharmacy reimbursement methodology and how it will impact pharmacies. This session will be held June 28 from 7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. and is worth 1.0 hour (0.1 CEU) of live CPE credits.

Enhancing the Bottom Line. Profit — we all need it. But how do you maximize it? Featured speaker Dave Wendland, VP of Hamacher Resource Group, will help attendees identify key profit triggers within a financial statement and will discuss real elements that directly affect profitability and generate significant returns in your business. Pharmacists attending this session will be able to, among other things, distinguish which of the five variables generates the most significant return and explain how incremental changes impact bottom-line profits. This session will be held June 27 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and is worth 2.0 hours (0.2 CEU) of live CPE.

Staying a Click Ahead: Using Digital Marketing to Connect to Your Consumers (Health Mart University Live CE). With a proliferating mobile marketplace and an ever-evolving social media landscape, this continuing education session is designed to help pharmacy owners, operators and managers stay abreast of current trends, understand what’s next in the digital marketing space and give real world content and technology examples that can be implemented immediately in your local market. This session will be held Friday, June 28 from 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and is worth 1.0 hours (0.1 CEU) of live CPE.

Access To Lives: How Payer Incentives are Presenting an Opportunity for Community Pharmacy (Health Mart University Live CE). This session will explore the impact of health care changes on payer incentives and how pharmacies can position themselves to maintain access by being preferred providers in performance networks. This session will also examine how adherence programs help drive improvement in patient outcomes and pharmacy profitability. This session will be held Friday, June 28 from 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., and is worth 1.0 hours (0.1 CEU) of live CPE.


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Countdown to McKesson ideaShare 2013: MiS to compile best thinking, new ideas for independent pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

LAS VEGAS — They call it “idea-share” for a reason. Attendees of this year’s McKesson ideaShare 2013 Conference, which will be held from June 26 through 30 at The Venetian Casino and Resort, will be exposed to some of the best thinking and new ideas for improving their independent pharmacy businesses. From topnotch speakers, continuing education sessions, hands-on workshops and business coaching seminars, McKesson ideaShare 2013 will offer independent pharmacy owners myriad opportunities to capitalize on today’s business climate.

This year’s McKesson ideaShare has been organized across four central themes that play out both in the programming, as well as on the exhibit floor: Better Business, aimed at improving owner profitability; Better Results for patient outcomes; Better Future as it relates to the practice of pharmacy as an industry, and Better Together, focusing on the merchandising and marketing services available through McKesson’s national Health Mart brand.

Headlining this year’s opening general session is best-selling author and futurist David Houle. Houle’s latest book, “The Future of Healthcare in America,” looks at the transformational changes going on today and what health care will look like in the years ahead. Drawing from this book, as well as his latest book, “Entering the Shift Age” — which lays out the dynamics that have shaped our world and will continue to reshape it for the next 20 years — Houle will deliver a keynote presentation to attendees on “The New Health Age and Emerging Pharmacy Trends."

Additionally, guest policy speaker Jon Kingsdale will headline the conference’s Public Policy Forum. As the managing director and co-founder of Wakely Consulting Group’s Boston office, and one of the nation’s leading consultants on healthcare legislation, including the Accountable Care Act (ACA) and the 2006 implementation of Massachusetts’ healthcare reform legislation, will discuss the real-world opportunities for independent pharmacy to take advantage of the changes coming under the ACA.

McKesson ideaShare 2013 also will offer attendees up to 30 hours of pharmacy continuing education — for more details, see the preview of key CE lessons at this year’s conference. According to a June 5th post on the McKesson ideaShare Facebook page, the five most popular CE programs based on total pre-registrants were:

  • Annual public policy forum;
  • Access to lives: How payer incentives are presenting an opportunity for community pharmacy;
  • Staying a click ahead: using digital marketing to connect to your consumers;
  • How successful pharmacy managers make it happen; and
  • Legislative and regulatory update.

In all, more than 200 exhibitors will line the exhibit floor. Highlights will include:

  • Better Business Pavilion – Special offers for McKesson ideaShare attendees through McKesson’s OneStop Generics program, which offers aggressive pricing on a special portfolio of more than 100 items; important BrandRx learning opportunities through Medicare Part B reimbursement changes and immunizations workshops;
  • Better Results Pavilion – New Clinical Services and the new Health Mart mobile app will help independent owners drive better outcomes for their patients;
  • Better Future Pavilion – Since 2007, McKesson’s RxOwnership program has helped more than 500 independent pharmacies start up a new business and 1,000 transfer ownership of the business to another independent operator. This year’s program also will offer personalized physician outreach demos; and
  • Better Together Pavilion – New Local Marketing Support services include the Marketing Hub and several new social media-based solutions. Attendees will also receive a free professional headshot for use in local marketing efforts. New store design and décor packages will also be on display, including the latest Health Mart store design.

McKesson will also host the Health Mart Annual Meeting at the show, which is open to all attendees, although pre-registration is required. This year, the focus will be on improving the consumer experience, creating stronger relationships within the healthcare space, and measuring a pharmacy’s impact on patient results and overall healthcare costs. McKesson’s Health Mart group, currently numbers more than 3,100 pharmacies, and has ranked highest in customer satisfaction in J.D. Power and Associates’ U.S. Pharmacy Study for three times in the last four years.

And families can once again take advantage of the Camp McKesson program, offering licensed child care and a full schedule of activities for children ages 3 years to 17 years.

For more information, or to register for McKesson ideaShare 2013, visit


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