Taming the Medicare Audit Beast: Three Ways to Improve Your Pharmacy’s Outlook
Deborah Roberts is Change Healthcare’s Manager Recovery and Audit, CMS Compliance.
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Clinics pop up in regional chains
There is no clearer evidence that retail clinics have become a vital component of community pharmacies than the recent proliferation in smaller, regional chains.
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“The industry data out there supports consumer acceptance of the in-store clinic model, whether it has convenient locations, flexible hours or the flexibility of accepting walk-ins,” said Pete Ratycz, VP pharmacy at Discount Drug Mart, which last fall opened five clinics in partnership with Cleveland-based MetroHealth. “Combine that with the benefit of processing a prescription — and quickly processing that prescription — and it’s no surprise that there’s been rapid adoption of the concept.”
“Access to convenient and affordable healthcare services is more important to [customers] now than ever before,” added Hy-Vee SVP pharmacy operations Kristin Williams when speaking about the company’s decision to continue to build on its base of 30 clinics.
Many regional players of all sizes also have begun incorporating clinics into their stores. Austin, Minn.-based Astrup Drug, for instance, has 17 stores; two with Smart Clinic walk-in health centers.
In the Pacific Northwest, Seattle-based Bartell Drugs has slowly been rolling out clinics since 2013 through a collaboration with Group Health Cooperative. Currently, the 64-store chain has five clinics and plans to add at least two more clinics this year.
Memphis-based Fred’s debuted its first health clinic last year in a store in rural Arkansas to help alleviate the primary care physician shortage in the area. Meanwhile, Fruth Pharmacy has teamed up with local healthcare provider PVH Health to open a pair of Express Care Clinics at stores in Point Pleasant, W.Va., and nearby Pomeroy, Ohio.