Washington insurers to recognize provider status


A groundbreaking bill passes in Washington state, CVS Health to buy Omnivore, FIP in Dusseldorf, and more.

Washington insurers to recognize provider status

A groundbreaking bill signed into law May 11 in Washington state is the first in the country to require health insurance carriers to include pharmacists as network providers.

Until now, payers recognized pharmacists only for dispensing medications, avoiding direct reimbursement for services such as chronic disease management, immunizations, and MTM, which pharmacists have been providing for years within clinics and hospitals. S.B. 5557 requires health insurance carriers to recognize pharmacists as they do other providers.

See also: Pharmacist provider status gains traction

Above and beyond

Jeff Rochon“It allows pharmacists to go above and beyond dispensing, to administer medications, monitor drug therapy and use, and initiate or modify drug therapy in coordination with collaborative drug therapy agreements with prescribers,” said Jeff Rochon, CEO of the Washington State Pharmacy Association (WSPA).

“We are excited that pharmacists will have opportunities to increase collaboration within the healthcare team in patient-centered medical homes and accountable care organizations, with the focus being on quality and safety,” Rochon said.

The new law requires health plans to reimburse pharmacists in clinics and hospitals starting January 1, 2016; for community pharmacists, reimbursement will begin January 1, 2017.

“Health plans that delegate credentialing agreements to contracted healthcare facilities must accept credentialing for pharmacists employed or contracted by those facilities. Health plans must reimburse facilities for covered services provided by network pharmacists within the pharmacists’ scope of practice per negotiations with the facility,” the law states.

The bill passed after several years of hard work by the WSPA, the Washington State Medical Association, the Washington State Hospital Association, and other groups. Senator Linda Parlette, Rep. Shelley Short, and Don Downing, clinical professor at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy, were also instrumental in getting the legislation passed, according to Rochon.

“We are hopeful that this advancement in our state can be utilized to help other states,” Rochon said.

Drug Topics ranked No. 1 among retail pharmacists

UBM Medica is pleased to announce that Drug Topics is considered to be the most thoroughly read resource among retail pharmacists, according to the 2015 Kantar Media Readership study. The results were announced last month.

Every year, Kantar Media surveys pharmacists to measure the frequency and thoroughness with which they read print and digital publications in the pharmacy field. To assess how thoroughly they read the publication (average page exposures), survey participants describe their reading habits as “cover-to-cover,” “articles of interest,” “table of contents,” or “skim the issue.”

According to the 2015 study, Drug Topics is ranked as No. 1 in average page exposures among retail pharmacists, No. 1 in average page exposures among retail pharmacy chains, No. 1 in average page exposures among owners and managers at retail pharmacies, No. 1 in cover-to-cover readership among retail pharmacy publications, and No. 1 in high readership among retail pharmacists.

Serving readers for 159 years

Drug Topics would like to thank our readers for their loyalty and engagement, our pharmacy contributors for their expertise and dedication to the profession, our advisory board members for their editorial guidance throughout the year, and our advertisers for their ongoing support in delivering quality content to pharmacists in all practice settings.

“For nearly 160 years, pharmacists have turned to Drug Topics to help navigate the changing healthcare landscape and improve outcomes for patients,” said Mike Weiss, group publisher of Drug Topics. “These results demonstrate that retail pharmacists consider Drug Topics to be their go-to resource for the information they need, when they need it.”

For up-to-the-minute pharmacy news, go to www.drugtopics.com.


CVS Health to buy Omnicare for $12.7 billion

CVS Health announced in May that it plans to acquire Omnicare, a leader in long-term-care pharmacy services, for approximately $12.7 billion in an all-cash deal that will give CVS Health an expanded platform from which to serve senior patients across the healthcare continuum.

With this transaction, CVS Health will be able to significantly increase its ability to serve seniors in assisted living and long-term-care facilities, expand its presence in the specialty pharmacy business, and achieve significant purchasing and revenue synergies for long-term growth, said CVS Health President and CEO Larry Merlo, during an investors’ conference call.

Expanded reach

“The acquisition of Omnicare provides a new pharmacy dispensing channel for CVS Health, expanding our customer reach to the broader population of chronic care patients and seniors at an important time as our population ages,” Merlo said.

In addition to its long-term-care business, Omnicare also has a specialty business, the eighth-largest in the United States, that is expected to complement CVS Health’s specialty business. Specialty pharmacy is a rapidly growing business sector, and Omnicare’s specialty pharmacy platform and clinical expertise will enable CVS Health to provide innovative services to patients and payers.

Greater efficiencies

“We also believe we can improve Omnicare’s current workflow and make their delivery service more efficient. There are opportunities to grow revenue by applying many of our best practices to the Omnicare model,” Merlo said.

CVS Health will also be evaluating its supply-chain opportunities with its wholesalers McKesson and Cardinal Health, with which it has good relationships, he said.

The acquisition of Omnicare is expected to close at the end of the year. Investors will receive $98 per share in cash, and CVS will assume $2.3 billion of Omnicare’s debt. Omnicare employs about 13,000 people in 47 states. CVS Health will finance the purchase with short-term financing from Barclays and later permanent financing with senior notes and/or term loans before the deal closes.

“Our targeted leverage ratio is 2.7 times adjusted debt-to-EBITDA. Currently it is about 2.3 to 2.4 times,” said David Denton, CVS Health’s executive vice president and chief
financial officer. 

- Julia Talsma, Content Channel Director

Pharmacists from around the world to meet in Düsseldorf for FIP 2015

Greetings, Drug Topics readers!

Are you looking for a way to learn more about global and regional approaches to pharmacy practice? Would you like to meet fellow professionals from nations around the world? Then look no further than the World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences 2015, the 75th gathering of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), held this year in Düsseldorf, Germany, September 29 through October 3.

Having now attended three FIP congresses, I can attest to the collegial networking opportunities available to anyone interested in branching out beyond the realm of U.S. pharmacy.

See also: Managing medication shortages: The pharmacist's role

The location

A leading center of trade and commerce only an eight-hour flight from New York City, Düsseldorf offers much to explore, including the city’s brewery culture and regional cuisine. Nicknamed “The 10-Minute City,” Düsseldorf boasts a modern bus-and-rail network that provides quick and easy transport throughout the area. Its exchange rate with the Euro is favorable. And as a bonus, Munich and Oktoberfest are an easy train ride away.

The Congress

The 2015 FIP World Congress invites practitioners, researchers, and academics from all over the world to address the question of how to work toward the best possible pharmacy practice, one that is evidence-driven and based on pharmaceutical sciences. Sessions are broken down by target audience and include groups focused on community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, emergency practice, and administrative practice, to name a few.

Network opportunities

In addition, FIP will host a “First-Timers Programme,” during which first-time Congress participants will meet other first-time attendees and be introduced to experienced pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists.

First-timers will be able to meet not only experienced congress participants but also representatives from FIP sections and special interest groups. New attendees will have many opportunities to exchange ideas, meet interesting people, and become involved in FIP’s global network and the vast array of projects that FIP offers to its members.

It’s not too soon to start making travel plans. For more information about the 2015 FIP conference, go to http://dusseldorf.fip.org/.

- Joel Claycomb, PharmD

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