PHARMACY

Publix extends Sync Your Refills program chainwide

BY Michael Johnsen

LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix on Tuesday announced plans to expand a new Sync Your Refills program to all pharmacies. After a successful test in the Atlanta Division, the program will expand companywide to the remaining Publix Pharmacies by Friday, Jan. 24. 

“As both a supermarket and pharmacy, we are focused on providing convenient programs and services to our customers,” said Maria Brous, Publix media and community relations director. “Our Sync Your Refills program is designed to respect the time of our customers and continue to build on a strong relationship between patient and pharmacist. Prescription synchronization assists in medication adherence for happier, healthier customers.”

Sync Your Refills is a program established to assist customers with synchronization of their medications to be refilled on the same day of the month. With this program, Publix pharmacists are more equipped to engage with their customers and discuss such patient care activities as immunizations, medication changes, medication therapy management consultations and medication adherence.

Customers receive a call eight days prior to fulfillment of prescriptions each month to ensure changes have not occurred. A reminder call or text is issued the day prior to pickup. As an added service, a call or text is issued if prescriptions are not picked up within 48 hours.

There are 925 Publix Pharmacies in the chain.

 

 

 

 

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Navarro Discount Pharmacy named 2013 ‘Tip Challenge’ winner

BY Antoinette Alexander

MIAMI — Navarro Discount Pharmacy has been recognized as a winner of the 2013 UnitedHealthcare Medication Adherence Targeted Intervention Program Challenge benefiting the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation.

Navarro was recognized in the small retail pharmacy chain and independent community pharmacy category for its ability to address gaps in medication adherence among a subgroup of UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage-Part D plan members.

Kathleen Jaeger, president, NACDS Foundation; Laura Crandon, VP, UnitedHealth Group Alliances; Juan Ortiz, CEO, Navarro Discount Pharmacy; Kirk Pumphrey, VP, Medicare Part D product, UnitedHealthcare Medicare and Retirement; and Steve Anderson, chairman, NACDS Foundation, Board of Directors, president and CEO, National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

“Lack of medication adherence has serious health implications and is the No. 1 reason why people become hospitalized. People taking medications, especially seniors, face many challenges, such as consistent timing, interactions with food or other medicines taken and not understanding the need to take their medicine as prescribed,” said Juan Ortiz, Navarro’s CEO. “The opportunities Navarro offers its customers make it easier to adhere to prescription regimens and keep track of medications, thus improving quality of life and health outcomes.”

UnitedHealthcare created the challenge to recognize the pharmacies in its network that have been most successful at helping its Medicare Advantage-Part D plan members take their prescription medications appropriately. UnitedHealthcare donated $10,000 to the NACDS Foundation on behalf of each of the 10 winning pharmacies — five in the large retail pharmacy chain category and five in the small retail pharmacy chain and independent community pharmacy category, including Navarro Discount Pharmacy.

“I’m proud of the work that our clinical team performed to help support our patients in their medication therapy. We are committed to improving the health and wellness of our patients and to the Navarro quality standard of patient service,” said Carla Wertman, director of pharmacy operations for Navarro.

UnitedHealthcare notified the participating pharmacies of the customers who could benefit from MTM services based on their risk for medication nonadherence, such as customers with a pattern of not filling prescriptions or picking up refills. Pharmacists then worked with those customers through one-on-one consultations to help address their individual barriers to medication adherence, such as cost of their medications, memory problems that cause patients to forget to take their medications, or confusion related to the complexity of their medication regimen.

When appropriate, pharmacists also informed their customers’ physicians of opportunities to consider evidence-based therapy protocols that could benefit the customer.

According to a 2011 report from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, nearly 75% of adults do not take their medications as prescribed, which limits the drugs’ effectiveness, increases the risk of poor health outcomes and raises the overall cost of care. Medication nonadherence is an especially significant issue among seniors, given that approximately 90% of adults older than 60 years take at least one prescription medication, and more than one-third take five or more prescription drugs.

 

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CMS report finds lower health spending growth in 2012; generic drugs touted as ‘critical to cost control’

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — Growth in health spending has slowed in recent years, including spending by private and public payers, according to data released Monday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that also found a small contribution to the lower growth from the healthcare reform law.

In a report published in the journal Health Affairs, the CMS Office of the Actuary said overall national health expenditures grew by 3.7% in 2012, marking a fourth consecutive year of low growth, while health spending as a share of the gross domestic product fell to 17.2% from 17.3% in 2011.

Private health insurance spending increased by 3.2%, less than 2011’s 3.4%, while Medicare spending increased by 4.8%, down from 5% in 2011, despite an increase in enrollment. In Medicaid, spending grew by 3.3%, which was higher than in 2011, but it reflected low overall growth rates resulting from improved economic conditions and efforts by state governments to rein in costs.

"For the second straight year, we have seen overall healthcare costs grow slower than the economy as a whole," CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner said. "This is good news. We will continue to work with tools given to us by the Affordable Care Act that will both help us control costs for taxpayers and consumers while increasing the quality of care."

The contribution to lower growth in overall spending from the healthcare reform law was described as "limited" because reforms were still being implemented in 2012.

In addition, prescription drug spending experienced low growth of 0.4% thanks to many branded drugs losing patent protection and the resulting availability of generics.

The Generic Pharmaceutical Association, a trade group representing generic drug makers, said generic drugs were "critical to cost control," pointing to a report it commissioned from IMS Health and released in December showing that generic drugs have saved the U.S. economy $1.2 trillion over the past decade.

"As 2014 witnesses extensive changes in the health landscape, the role of generic medicines in providing patient savings and access to affordable care is critical and unquestionable," GPhA president and CEO Ralph Neas said. "A large proportion of patient and consumer savings is attributable to the increased use of generic medicines, and a decrease in overall spending on prescription drugs."

 

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