Rite Aid announces fifth Health Alliance partnership
CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid and Heritage Provider Network, one of California’s largest healthcare provider networks, on Tuesday announced they have entered into an agreement to bring the Rite Aid Health Alliance program to HPN’s chronic and polychronic patients across Southern California.
“We are excited to announce Heritage Provider Network, one of the leading healthcare providers in California, as the latest Rite Aid Health Alliance partner,” stated Ken Martindale, Rite Aid president and COO. “Known as a pioneer in population health management, Heritage Provider Network has long believed in and offered a wide array of innovative and preventative healthcare services, making them a natural partner for us as we continue to bring this one-of-a-kind healthcare program to the communities we serve.”
Ken Martindale, Rite Aid president and COO
The Rite Aid Health Alliance pilot partnership with Heritage Provider Network is the largest to date since Rite Aid announced the program earlier this year. Thirty Rite Aid pharmacies and eight Heritage affiliates, as well as its ACO, across Southern California are participating. The rollout, taking place in two phases, is expected to be complete by mid-July.
Through Rite Aid Health Alliance, Rite Aid and HPN will offer coordinated, comprehensive care and support to patients with chronic and poly-chronic conditions like congestive heart failure, diabetes, COPD, hypertension and high cholesterol. HPN physicians and Rite Aid pharmacists will work with specially trained care coaches, located in select Rite Aid pharmacies, to achieve specific physician identified wellness goals and improve the patient’s overall health and self-management abilities.
“Improving health outcomes and reducing the cost of care for chronic and poly-chronic patients is a top priority for us at HPN,” said Richard Merkin, HPN president and CEO. “We look forward to working with Rite Aid in this collaboration to provide additional care services to our patients in communities throughout Southern California at convenient Rite Aid pharmacies.”
Richard Merkin, Heritage Provider Network president and CEO
Heritage Provider Network affiliates participating in Rite Aid Health Alliance include Bakersfield Family Medical Center; Coastal Communities Physician Network; Desert Oasis Health Care; High Desert Medical Group; Lakeside Medical Group; Regal Medical Group; Sierra Medical Group, Affiliated Doctors of Orange County as well as Heritage California ACO.
The full range of services available to patients participating in Rite Aid Health Alliance includes medication compliance support; comprehensive medication reviews and reconciliation; nutrition and weight management information; disease education; exercise coaching; and tobacco cessation support. In order to ensure collaboration between Rite Aid and primary care physicians, physician orders will be transmitted electronically to the Care Coach and pharmacist and reports of all patient interactions within Rite Aid pharmacies will be shared with the member’s physician.
Rite Aid previously announced it was piloting Rite Aid Health Alliance partnerships in Greensboro, N.C., Glendale, Calif., Buffalo, N.Y., and Hershey, Pa., in addition to the new arrangement with HPN.
HRG’s ‘How to Grow Sales Within Independent Pharmacy’ workshop to be held in August
WAUKESHA, Wis. — Hamacher Resource Group is offering its most popular workshop, “How to Grow Sales Within Independent Pharmacy,” for the last time this calendar year on Aug. 7 at its headquarters in Waukesha, Wis., the company has announced.
Dave Wendland, HRG VP and member of the owners group, will lead the workshop and provide insights and advice based on his 20-plus years of experience in the industry and long-standing relationships with health, beauty, and wellness manufacturers, wholesalers, and independent pharmacies.
HBW manufacturers will learn about trends, shopper demographics, and the strengths and weaknesses of independent pharmacies. The session also includes a discussion about healthcare distributors, and how to work collaboratively to reach pharmacists in this diverse channel. Manufacturers attending will have the opportunity to reserve one-on-one time with HRG experts to delve into their specific issues or challenges.
“’How to Grow Sales Within Independent Pharmacy’ is perfect for suppliers that are new to the independent channel or who haven’t found success and don’t know where they are going wrong,” stated Wendland. “Between the topics we cover during the day and the individual one-on-one meetings with our experts, suppliers should be well-equipped to take action toward success in the independent channel when they leave.”
Space for the workshop is limited and the registration deadline is July 18. An early bird discount is available through July 3. Those interested can learn more at Hamacher.com.
PwC’s Health Research Institute projects 2015 medical inflation of 6.8%
NEW YORK — After a five-year contraction in employer healthcare spending growth, medical inflation in the United States is projected to rise to 6.8% in 2015, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute. In its annual report, "Medical Cost Trend: Behind the Numbers," HRI on Tuesday projected that the stronger economy is now reaching the health sector, releasing a pent-up demand for care and services.
Despite some higher utilization and the cost of expensive new cures, the higher expected growth rate in 2015 is modest compared to the double-digit annual increases seen throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, the fact that health spending continues to outpace GDP underscores the need for a renewed focus on productivity, efficiency and ultimately delivering better value for healthcare customers.
Confident consumers are spending more freely on healthcare due to the improved economy as well as increasing numbers of newly insured, and HRI expects that trend to continue through next year. In addition, the high costs of specialty drugs will increase the healthcare spending growth rate, according to HRI. As exemplified by new Hepatitis C therapies, which are estimated to have a big cost impact next year — responsible for a 0.2% increase in spending growth — drug development continues to play an inflationary role in the short run. However, over the long-term, these new therapies may improve quality of life and reduce other medical costs. Other inflationary factors identified by HRI are shifts to higher payments for physician practices acquired by hospitals and health systems, and IT integration investments for large-scale health system mergers and acquisitions.
"Due to a demand for value and increased efficiency in the healthcare industry, medical inflation will be modest this year," stated Kelly Barnes, PwC’s U.S. health industries leader. "It is still too early to tell whether the drive for transparency and better value for each healthcare dollar – the cornerstone of the new health economy – will be able to temper spending growth once millions of newly insured access the healthcare system."
The report notes that additional factors are helping to moderate the growth rate. Three factors holding down spending growth include:
- Healthcare providers gaining efficiencies through ‘systemness’ – streamlining administrative activities and standardizing clinical programs to eliminate redundancies and lower operating costs;
- Cost-conscious consumer shopping brought about by employees shouldering more of the financial responsibility for their healthcare; and
- Risk-based contracts in which healthcare providers are held accountable for patient outcomes.
After accounting for likely changes in benefit design, such as higher deductibles and narrow networks, HRI projects a net growth rate of 4.8% in 2015. Benefit design changes typically hold down spending growth by shifting financial responsibility to consumers, who often choose less expensive options.
In Behind the Numbers, HRI examines the factors that serve to inflate or deflate the spending growth rate. The ninth annual report also includes findings from PwC’s 2014 Health and Well-being Touchstone Survey of 1,200 large employers and interviews with health plan actuaries whose companies cover a total of 93 million members. Some key findings from the Touchstone Survey include:
- Employers are continuing to shift financial responsibility for health plan costs to employees through plan design and increased contributions. High deductible health plans are growing in popularity, with 18% of employers surveyed now offering a high-deductible plan as the only insurance option for employees;
- Wellness continues to be a major investment for employers, with 71% offering programs, up from 68% in 2013; and
- Other than traditional cost savings efforts geared towards cost shifting, employers are considering private exchanges more often than other new and emerging strategies.
“Major purchasers such as the federal government and large employers are helping to contain spending growth, in part by demanding greater value and by shifting more financial responsibility to consumers,” said Michael Thompson, principal, PwC’s human resource services practice. “Indeed 85% of the employers we surveyed have implemented or are considering an increase in employee cost sharing, with high deductible health plans the highest enrolled plan for 26%. When you consider that the in-network deductible is $1,000 or more for 40% of employers — up from 16% in 2010 — it’s no wonder that employers are exploring other cost saving efforts such as private exchanges and wellness initiatives.”