Take Care: Patients that use workplace primary care, pharmacy services have higher adherence rates
NEW YORK The findings of the Take Care Health Systems’ survey are important as they undoubtedly underscore the importance of worksite clinics, which are growing increasingly common as U.S. employers look for ways to curb skyrocketing healthcare costs and bolster employee health and productivity.
The study highlights what clinic operators — like Take Care Health Systems with its 300-plus worksite clinics — have known for some time: investing in integrated workplace health and pharmacy programs can, in fact, help employers realize healthcare savings, while improving patient outcomes.
What is the cost savings? As reported in late 2008 by Drug Store News, an August 2008 report by human resources consulting and outsourcing services provider Hewitt Associates, dubbed “Trends in HR and Employee Benefits: Employers Implement On-Site Health Clinics to Manage Costs,” states that some studies suggest that worksite clinics lead to $2 in savings for every $1 invested, and some may even reach $3 to $6 in savings for every $1 invested. Citing data provided by On-Site Health Care, the Hewitt Associates report also states, “For prescription drugs, employers may see 11.9% in brand savings and 56.3% in generic savings.” Then, of course, there’s the issue of medication adherence, which the Take Care Health Systems’ survey clearly addresses. With an estimated price tag of $100 billion, non-adherence is a major drain on the U.S. healthcare system.
Given the results of this study and the trends that are already taking place throughout the convenient care industry, employer-based clinics are something the industry is bound to see on the upswing. In fact, industry sources have suggested that the market could bear as many as 5,000 worksite clinics as the ideal client is an employer with 1,000 or more employees at a site.
NCPA announces new FSA service
ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Community Pharmacists Association on Wednesday announced a new service — the FSAok AutoCopay — that enables community pharmacies to continue serving patients who use flexible spending account debit cards within new IRS regulations.
As of July 1, those regulations precluded customers from using their FSA debit card at drug store retailers that had not secured an Inventory Information Approval System, a point-of-sale system that’s able to identify eligible health care FSA purchases by comparing the purchased items’ UPC or SKU number against a pre-established list of eligible items; keep a separate total for the eligible items; and charge the FSA card only for the eligible items total, and request another form of payment for any remaining items.
“We were pleased late last year when, after meeting with NCPA, the Internal Revenue Service extended the deadline [for the new requirement] from January 1 to July 1, 2009,” stated Bruce Roberts, NCPA EVP and CEO. “During that time, NCPA responded to the needs of our members by collaborating with Finpago’s FSAok AutoCopay service to offer a low-cost solution requiring no special software or POS system so that they can continue to serve their patients’ with FSA accounts with an automated copayment claims service and real time substantiation of eligible over-the counter transactions.”
For pharmacies without point of sale systems, AutoCopay makes it possible to accept payment from patients who use FSA debit cards in accordance to IRS regulations.
“The average pharmacy sells more than $60,000 per year to customers with flexible spending account debit cards,” stated Finpago CEO Fred Hawkins.
Isopure Co. to roll out Isopure Plus nationwide
HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. The Isopure Company on Tuesday announced the nationwide rollout of Isopure Plus, a line of clear, protein drinks offering seniors, people with nutritional challenges, and those recovering from weight-loss surgery or medical treatment a clear alternative to thick or milky nutrition drinks, the company stated.
Shipping this fall, Isopure Plus drinks are formulated with 15 grams of whey protein per eight-ounce serving and are available in two flavors — alpine punch and grape frost.
“The revolution in nutrition has begun,” stated Hal Katz, Isopure CEO. “Ready-to-drink nutrition formulas have changed little since they were first introduced more than a decade ago. The market has lost many consumers to taste fatigue and lack of variety. Isopure Plus breaks through the taste and consistency bottleneck and also is perfectly positioned to capitalize on emerging market trends such as an aging population and increased interest in weight-loss surgery.”