PHARMACY

‘World class’ in session

BY Rob Eder

By now you probably have heard about "Walgreens University," the internal education center the company opened last month, complete with technology-enhanced classrooms, a mock drug store and video-conferencing capabilities for employee educational programs.

Competing in the new age of retail, where bricks, clicks and anything in between compete for a larger share of the omnichannel customer, will require new skill sets and a generally better-educated workforce. The winners will create a more personalized shopping experience that leverages the expertise in their stores.

This will continue to create new positions at store level — health guides, more beauty advisers, more advanced roles for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. As Walgreens tests the outer boundaries of what "fresh" looks like in a drug store, it is creating a variety of new positions from baristas to smoothie bar mixologists.

U.S. companies overall increased spending on training and development 12% last year, according to research from Bersin by Deloitte, a human resources consulting firm.

After years of cutting training budgets, leading companies now are putting their investment against arguably the best resource they have — their people. Product exclusives and private brand aside, it’s very difficult in the drug store to differentiate with product. Service and services make you different — and that’s about people.

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OutcomesMTM helping MTM outcomes matter

BY Michael Johnsen

OutcomesMTM, a medication therapy management delivery system, last week recognized its top chain and independent pharmacies for 2012. Walgreens and Kerr Drug were named top large pharmacy chain and top regional pharmacy chain, respectively. 

MTM matters, and people are keeping score. And it’s something you can expect to see more of in the age of accountable care and star-based quality ratings.  

According to a recent report released by the American Pharmacists Association, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2012 began a three-year demonstration project for Medicare Advantage Part D plans in which plans will receive quality bonus payments based on their star ratings. And those star ratings soon will be impacted by MTM performance metrics. 

CMS guidance for 2013 Part D plans stated: “Sponsors are expected to have a process in place to measure, analyze and report the outcomes of their MTM programs, whether or not goals of therapy have been reached; capture drug therapy recommendations and resolutions made as a result of the MTM recommendations; and to capture beneficiary satisfaction with MTM services, providers, and outcomes.”

But don’t just take our word for it. "Money is a powerful motivator," wrote SoloHealth CEO and Founder Bart Foster as part of a comprehensive explanation of the star-based quality ratings in a recent blog for DSN. "According to the new law, CMS will pay up to 5% of a health plan’s total yearly benchmark payments to those plans receiving four stars or higher. Pending the plan’s size, that could equate to big money," he wrote. 

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Navarro promotes colon cancer screenings for National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

BY Alaric DeArment

MIAMI — Navarro Discount Pharmacy is promoting colon cancer screenings in the month of March under a partnership with a group focused on the disease, Navarro said Friday.

The regional retail pharmacy has partnered with StopColonCancerNow.com to promote the screenings, which screening guidelines advise adults older than 50 years to receive, or 45 years if they are African-American. According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for colon cancer is 90% when detected and treated in the earliest stage.

"Colon cancer is the second deadliest form of cancer in the United States, yet more than 80% of cases could be prevented with timely screenings," StopColonCancerNow.com medical director Simon Behar said. "Through its commitment to wellness and broad reach in south Florida, Navarro is helping us to spread an important message — a colonoscopy can save your life."

The 33-store chain will provide educational materials in pharmacies through the month, which is designated as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and include information on colon cancer screening in its advertisements and online.

"Keeping our customers healthy is part of what we do, and there is no test more important for those who meet the screening guidelines than a colonoscopy," Navarro EVP and Navarro Health Services president Albert Garcia said. "This partnership is one more way that we are taking care of our customers and helping to make sure they live a healthy life."

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