PHARMACY

Pharmacy groups applaud CMS’ rejection of below-cost Medicaid dispensing fees

BY Sandra Levy

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores, or NACDS, the Washington State Pharmacy Association, or WSPA, and the National Community Pharmacists Association, or NCPA, praised the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, for its rejection of Washington State’s below-cost and lowest-in-the-nation Medicaid pharmacy dispensing fees.

In 2016, CMS put a new rule in place, which changed states’ calculation of reimbursement to pharmacies for Medicaid prescriptions. A key part of the rule indicates that states must at least reimburse pharmacies for their actual costs in dispensing drugs to Medicaid beneficiaries. The associations have advocated in all branches and levels of government that Washington State’s below-cost reimbursement violates the new rule, jeopardizes reliable patient access to medications responsible for ensuring patient health, and leads to more costly forms of care that result from untreated conditions.

“This action by CMS should spur Washington State to increase its dispensing fees and demonstrate to other Medicaid programs that dispensing fees must cover pharmacies’ costs. This increase in dispensing fees must be supported by pharmacy cost data, and under federal rules should be applied retrospectively effective April 1, 2017. The State has indicated it plans to ask CMS to reconsider its decision,” the pharmacy groups said.

NACDS, WSPA, and NCPA issued a joint statement in support of CMS’ decision: “CMS has taken action that is consistent with the Covered Outpatient Drugs final rule and that is consistent with the health and wellness of our most vulnerable patients. We strongly support this pivotal development, which will prove highly significant for pharmacy patient care in Washington State and nationwide. We will continue to advocate in support of this pro-patient and pro-pharmacy position.”

In June of this year, NACDS, NCPA, and WSPA sent a letter to CMS asking the agency to “delay no longer in requiring Washington to comply with federal Medicaid reimbursement law like other states.”

In March 2017, NACDS, WSPA, and NCPA sued the State of Washington to stop a “substantively and procedurally flawed” rule that would pay community pharmacies below the actual cost to dispense Medicaid prescriptions. An important brief filed this summer in the Washington State Court of Appeals described the associations’ position in great detail. NACDS, WSPA and NCPA are continuing their litigation challenging the state’s inadequate dispensing fees.

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PHARMACY

Alcon’s global headquarters to move ahead of Novartis spinoff

BY Sandra Levy

Alcon, a global leader in eye care and a division of Novartis, on Tuesday announced plans to locate its future global headquarters in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland, following completion of its proposed spinoff from Novartis. Alcon corporate and EMEA employees will begin moving to the new Geneva location in 2019.

Earlier this year, Novartis announced its intention to spinoff Alcon into a separately-traded standalone company.

Alcon’s new global headquarters in Geneva will be the primary location for Alcon’s senior corporate leadership and other corporate and commercial functions. It will be co-located with Alcon’s Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) regional office, which is already based in the city.

“We are delighted to announce Geneva as the location of Alcon’s new global headquarters following the proposed spinoff from Novartis,” Alcon’s chief executive officer, David Endicott said. “For more than 40 years, Alcon has had a significant presence in Switzerland, which is known for its progressive business climate and innovation-friendly policies. Being headquartered in Geneva will help further increase Alcon’s global scale and reach to better serve our customers.”

The new listed holding company for the Alcon group after the proposed spinoff will be incorporated in the Canton of Fribourg, where Alcon already has significant operations, which will complement other key sites in Rotkreuz and Schaffhausen.

Alcon could employ up to 700 in Switzerland post-spin-off. Alcon’s current global divisional headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, will remain a major operational, commercial, and innovation hub for the proposed standalone company, according to the company.

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Liberty Software’s Amplicare integration helps pharmacies improve workflow

BY Sandra Levy

Pharmacies using Liberty Software are able to proactively improve patient care through Liberty’s pharmacy software integration with Amplicare, a leading decision automation platform that uses patient data and intelligently identifies opportunities for healthcare providers.

The proactive alerts integrated with Liberty’s platform offer a greater range of workflow automation for pharmacists to improve productivity and patient care.

“With the tighter integration of Amplicare’s platform to Liberty Software’s platform, our pharmacies are the first in the marketplace to receive proactive patient opportunities in their daily workflow within the pharmacy software and fully quantifiable ROI through the pharmacy POS integration,” Liberty Software’s executive vice president Jeremy Manchester said. “Liberty Software is always looking for ways to improve patient care, and this seamless, integrated solution with Amplicare is a strategic fit that will prove invaluable for our pharmacies.”

The Amplicare platform features the following:

  • Amplicare Connect improves patient satisfaction by helping them with adherence and staying on top of their refills with automated phone calls in the voice of their pharmacist;
  • Amplicare Restore recognizes patients who could benefit from taking over-the-counter supplements based on their active prescriptions that deplete key nutrients;
  • Amplicare Impact helps pharmacies identify opportunities to interact with patients who are impacting their performance metrics;
  • iMedicare enables pharmacies to compare Medicare plans in seconds, improves patient retention, drives new business and improves patient care; and
  • Amplicare Assist automatically highlights opportunities generated from any of the other Amplicare tools, tying everything together in the pharmacy daily workflow without the need to visit another dashboard to retrieve opportunities.

“Pharmacies have more dashboards today than ever before, yet less time to perform the key activities that need their greatest attention,” Amplicare CEO Matt Johnson said. “By deeply integrating with Liberty Software, we empower pharmacies to execute on the most valuable interventions for their patients at the right time and place in their daily workflow.”

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