Saving LTC pharmacies time, expense, and headaches while providing reliable and consistent STAT services.
Long-term care (LTC) pharmacies serve the medication needs of 9 million Americans, according to a 2014 report from the CDC. The typical LTC patient is living with more than one chronic condition and relies on as many as 10 different prescription drugs. For these generally elderly and often frail patients, prescription drugs are critical and STAT situations are common.
Such potentially life-threatening, around-the-clock needs are why all LTC pharmacies are legally required to have an emergency backup system in place. Research conducted by Care Services LLC shows that anywhere from 2.5 million to 4 million claims per year are called in to a backup service and require a reliable partner to fulfill.
MedCall, a leading provider of backup pharmacy services, is a member of the Care Services family of brands. MedCall offers LTC pharmacies nationwide backup pharmacy coverage, an extensive delivery network, facilitation of after-hours coverage, and expert handling of STAT needs.
Providing medically complex patients with 24-hour access to a pharmacist seven days a week is challenging and can lead to inefficiencies and staff burnout. To avoid on-call situations and ease staffing burdens, many LTC pharmacies turn to specialized backup pharmacy services to provide the after-hours coverage they require.
Neil Medical Group’s Pharmacy Services Division has more than 30 years of experience in partnering with LTC facilities. Headquartered in Kinston, North Carolina, Neil is a pharmacy supplier servicing more than 100 facilities in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, and Georgia.
According to Vice President of Pharmacy Services Tom D’Andrea, Neil originally handled all of their backup needs on their own. “We had to find the backup pharmacies and arrange for delivery ourselves,” he recalled. Organizing these services in-house was, and continues to be, costly and highly inefficient, taking resources away from a pharmacy’s day-to-day responsibilities and ability to grow rapidly.
In 2011, Neil was approached by MedCall. “They offered to organize all backup services around the clock, as well as to consolidate billing. They also included services to manage deliveries,” D’Andrea said.
At that time, MedCall was owned by a trusted LTC pharmacist from the North Carolina area, a factor that contributed to Neil’s choice to sign on with them. When MedCall was purchased by Care Services LLC in 2013, D’Andrea opted to continue with them because of the quality of the service Neil Medical had received so far, as well as in response to enhancements the company was able to make with their new ownership structure, including extensive delivery services.
LTC performance standards include timely access to emergency medications. “Speed is definitely something facilities expect,” D’Andrea said. Most LTC facilities hold their LTC pharmacies to a four-hour compliance window to deliver STAT medications. MedCall’s Complete Delivery Solution meets those expectations; the majority of the drug requests they receive are fulfilled in under two hours.
“You may not even be able to walk into a drugstore on your own and get a prescription filled that fast,” he said. “It’s amazing that we can now get medications delivered to an LTC facility in less than two hours.”
In those instances when an obstacle arises and threatens to hold up access to a drug, MedCall still comes through. The company offers each client individualized account management and manages a 24 hour, seven days a week, in-house customer service desk.
D’Andrea recalled a situation where a prescription was requested that required a physician’s signature. “They could not locate the doctor to get him to sign off,” he said. “MedCall phoned that practice maybe 12 times in two hours. They wound up having a PA sign and were able to get the prescription filled. They went above and beyond, and they stayed on it to make sure the patient got his medicine. That’s great customer service.”
MedCall has also enabled Neil to expand their geographic reach without the added concerns of locating and securing backup services in new regions. MedCall’s network has them covered.
“We don’t worry about being able to expand at all,” D’Andrea said. “We can go into any area and not have to hunt for a pharmacy that will do backup for us there. It’s a lot quicker organizing this now than it was when we handled it all ourselves in-house.” MedCall leverages an ROI tool for its clients to help understand and demonstrate the savings that institutional pharmacies can recognize using its backup and delivery services.
For LTC pharmacies, backup services are table stakes, with a national standard fourhour window from drug ordering to delivery. In addition, STAT orders add a certain amount of complexity that, if handled in-house, can prevent filling non-STAT orders in a timely manner. MedCall turns these requirements into a necessary benefit with a list of advantages, including comprehensive and timely delivery, nationwide coverage, a convenient online portal, consolidated and speedy billing, and constant customer support.
MedCall’s business model is built to handle these requirements while letting LTC pharmacies operate at peak efficiency and effectiveness. With a network of more than 70,000 pharmacies, MedCall supports over 1,000 clients with facilities in every state. Their extensive Complete Delivery Solution network provides access to more than 3,000 couriers who can reach 95% of the nation’s population base and cover 85% of the nation’s zip codes. A designated team of research analysts continuously monitors the network and adds additional courier options in areas of client need.
In addition to backup support and delivery, MedCall also provides access to customized reports that deliver a snapshot of a facility’s commonly requested drugs as well as insightful emergency-kit information. These reports allow pharmacies to adjust inventory levels to increase efficiency.
“They slice and dice the information for us so we can drill down into each facility,” D’Andrea said. “This saves us money because we don’t have to carry stock that we don’t need, plus we can be aware of items that are being requested more often and act accordingly.” MedCall is continually enhancing their reporting capabilities with a focus on making action-oriented reporting easy for clients.
Ultimately, in addition to saving money and time, MedCall also makes life easier for
the LTC pharmacy team. As D’Andrea put it, “With MedCall, the number of headaches
is definitely reduced.”
This post is related to:Long Term Care Resources