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Q&A with Mike Kaufmann live from the 2013 Cardinal Health RBC

BY DSN STAFF

SEATTLE — The evening before the official kick off of the Cardinal Health 2013 Retail Business Conference, DSN took an opportunity to sit with Mike Kaufmann, CEO Cardinal Health Pharmaceutical Segment, to discuss what RBC is all about — Cardinal Health’s commitment to the independent operator.

DSN: Cardinal Health serves a host of customers from chain pharmacy to hospital systems. But the independent pharmacy owner has always been a key focus for Cardinal Health. Can you talk to us about the importance of the independent operator to Cardinal Health?

MIKE KAUFMANN: Our retail independent customers are very important providers of patient care in their communities. When we serve an independent pharmacy, we have a chance to serve an entrepreneur, an owner, who cares about their local community and provides the critical healthcare services it needs. As a partner to these business owners we provide services that help them run their pharmacies more efficiently, help them manage reimbursements and help them attract new patients. In a sense we are the business support behind their businesses. This is a partnership we take very seriously given their essential role in their communities.

DSN: Conferences can be a lot of work and a big commitment in time and resources, and the 2013 RBC is on record as the biggest in the history of the event, both in terms of total square footage and the total number of vendors in attendance. Why does RBC still remain an important event for Cardinal Health and why does Cardinal Health continue to support this venue?

KAUFMANN: We think keeping retail independents alive and thriving is critical to the U.S. healthcare system. We have been hosting RBC for 23 years because it allows us to showcase not only the best-in-class offerings we have for retail independents but also so that our pharmacy customers can get together and learn from the best —each other. At RBC we share best practices and provide continuing education. But often it’s the informal networking that generates the sharing of ideas and results in stronger retail independents.

We also feature our supplier partners on the exhibit floor. Our customers appreciate being able to see all the suppliers in one place and interact and learn from them as well. We know that we couldn’t do this show without supplier support and partnership and we thank them for their participation.

This year we again have thousands of attendees at RBC and it is truly energizing to see all these people in support of retail independent pharmacy in one place.

DSN: Promoting women in pharmacy has long been a strategic priority for Cardinal Health. Why are women pharmacy owners important to Cardinal Health, and how does Cardinal Health support women in pharmacy at RBC?

KAUFMANN: Women make up about 60% of the graduates from pharmacy schools and make 80% of the healthcare decisions for their families. With numbers like these, helping women advance their potential is not only the right thing to do but the smart thing to do.

We launched our Women in Pharmacy initiative three years ago to connect successful female pharmacy owners with young women pharmacists who are interested in running their own pharmacy. We create forums for pharmacists and potential owners to learn from each other and understand best practices. Every year at RBC, we host a day-long Boot Camp where female pharmacy students participate in sessions on pharmacy ownership, get tips of the trade and learn financial basics.

Given how critical retail independents are to their communities we want to ensure new pharmacy graduates consider ownership an option for their careers. We want to help them access the knowledge they need to open up a pharmacy and experience the rewards of business ownership.

To keep up with all the news from Cardinal Health RBC 2013, visit DrugStoreNews.com/Cardinal-Health-Retail-Business-Conference-2013.


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Cardinal Health 2013 RBC: Executives identify new opportunities for independents during opening session

BY Michael Johnsen

SEATTLE — The future is now. Material changes to health care already are impacting how independent pharmacies operate, and Cardinal Health has a host of new products and services to help their independent pharmacy partners capitalize on opportunities within that change. That was a key message for attendees of the standing-room-only opening business session, here, Thursday morning at the Washington State Convention Center, signaling the official start of the annual Cardinal Health Retail Business Conference.

“The future changes in health care you’ve been hearing about, they’re here right now. Your call to action must be to discover new horizons,” Steve Lawrence, SVP of retail independent sales for Cardinal Health, told the packed auditorium, invoking the theme of Cardinal Health RBC 2013, now in its 23rd year. "And I promise you, they’re out there. To thrive, independent pharmacy has to undergo a real revolution. You have to expand beyond a pharmacy [and] become a community healthcare company.”

And the opportunities are out there, Cardinal Health executives said — another key theme of the Thursday morning business session. “This RBC is all about your journey of discovery,” Ron Clerico, VP of marketing strategy and solutions for retail, alternate care and government at Cardinal Health, told attendees. Clerico named three key initiatives that independents attending the show “must see” to help them seize the moment, including the company’s showcase pharmacy design concept, which was among the key highlights on the show floor; its acquisition of Independence Medical and the synergies DME can offer an independent pharmacy owner; and new technology tools from Cardinal Health to help with reimbursement challenges, which are likely to intensify under health reform.

“First is our Cardinal Health Showcase. We’re recreated the pharmacy to give a real-world perspective on how programs and services can be positioned in your business,” Clerico said. “Second, the recent acquisition of Independence Medical will increase our offerings in DME and home healthcare products,” he said.

For the third “must-see,” Cardinal Health announced the launch of enhanced reimbursement consulting services being offered as part of an online portal. “We are providing a dedicated adviser and store-specific reports to help pharmacies better understand and manage reimbursements and profitability, as well as audit risk,” Jon Giacomin, president of U.S. Pharmaceutical Distribution at Cardinal Health, told attendees.

Cardinal Health also announced the introduction of a specialty pharmacy solution called Cardinal Health Specialty Pharmacy Alliance. “Contracting with Specialty Pharmacy Alliance gives you the ability to dispense specialty prescriptions in those cases where [independents] are eligible to purchase the medications,” Giacomin said. Cardinal Health helps handle benefits investigation, patient education, and management and reporting back to the manufacturer. “In addition, they work with the patient’s PBM and the prescribing physician to order refills.”

Independent pharmacy will play an essential role as the final pieces of healthcare reform continue to fall into place, Mike Kaufmann, CEO of Cardinal Health Pharmaceutical Segment, told RBC 2103 attendees. "Not only in providing services to this [expanded pool of] patients, but you can help them sign up for the benefits. As the trusted community resource, you can help your patients sort through the information.”

Cardinal Health closed the opening session with a special treat for attendees — a keynote address from Chris Gardner, best-selling author of “The Pursuit of Happyness.” Gardner holds a special connection to community pharmacists — he served three years as a primary caregiver to his wife, who had brain cancer. “There are some folks in your communities who count on you and what you do every day,” Gardner said. “What you do every day is making a difference in somebody’s life in your community, and you know what, that’s why I came here today,” he said. “I wanted to say ‘thank you’ for those folks.”

To keep up with all the news from Cardinal Health RBC 2013, visit DrugStoreNews.com/Cardinal-Health-Retail-Business-Conference-2013.


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What happens in Vegas … better NOT stay in Vegas

BY Rob Eder

Man, am I sick of that cornball phrase; as if everybody who ever goes to Las Vegas has some kind of rock star night, like lost footage from one of the "Hangover" trilogy movies. The truth is, if you’re reading this now — or in my case, writing this now — your life just is not that glamorous. You’re not going to be hanging out with Mike Tyson all night, and if you wake up one morning and can’t remember the night before, you’re going to have much bigger problems than just a splitting headache.

Let’s face it — if you’re heading to NACDS Total Store Expo, what happens in Vegas BETTER NOT stay in Vegas. You need to make the most out of your meetings, and you’re going to need to show a return for the time and money you invested in the trip, perhaps more so than any other trade event you attend all year. In show business vernacular — TSE IS your Vegas.

That’s the idea behind our cover — your VIP pass, loaded with trends, ideas and products to help you optimize this game-changing show.

Enjoy the issue and if you’re going to TSE, have a great meeting.

And for Pete’s sake, if you see me out there, don’t hit me with, "What happens in Vegas …"

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