Retail News Breaks
Sav-Mor sees its pharmacies as community health enablers
April 18th, 2013
NOVI, Mich. – Sav-Mor Franchising has had all of its pharmacists trained to administer vaccinations. The chain drug retailer’s next step is for those professionals to foster customer engagement with all of the company’s wellness initiatives.
“Our major goal in 2013 is to position each of our pharmacies as a place where the health care community can go for help in managing patients in both their disease states and the proper use of their medication,” said Rich Grossman, president and chief executive officer of Michigan-based Sav-Mor, which has 75 drug stores.
“Working committees have been formed of pharmacists from our locations, targeting specific programs to implement at our pharmacies,” he explained. “Examples of areas they are working on are hypertension, asthma, diabetes, medication adherence and smoking cessation. We are continuing to develop workflow solutions to free up our pharmacists at the store level. These include implementation of a central-fill solution.”
Sav-Mor’s wellness initiatives will tie directly into its loyalty program, demonstrating to customers that pharmacy is an integral part of the health care delivery system.
Other objectives include focusing patient medication adherence programs along with synchronizing medication regimens and outbound messaging.
“We currently have stores beta testing various programs that will garner the best outcomes for our patients,” said executive vice president of pharmacy operations Yvonne Gallagher.
Technology changes and upgrades will concentrate on continued review and research of pharmacy software as well as that of mobile technology.
“With these and other initiatives, Sav-Mor in 2013 will be marketing our two healthy service campaigns, ‘Sav-Mor … Your Pharmacy Experts’ and ‘Sav-Mor … Your Partner in Good Health,’ more prominently,” Gallagher added.
She noted that Sav-Mor is assessing current and future health care reforms, including “Medicare preferred networks that sometimes, unknowingly, take loyal pharmacy patients away from their pharmacy of choice.”
Although freedom of access was intended to allow all pharmacies to serve all patients if they chose to sign a PBM contract, “it appears that some language within CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] instruction guidelines in 2006 did allow preferred networks to limit contracted Medicare Part D pharmacy enrollment,” according to Gallagher.
Sav-Mor is also assessing the impact of health care changes, which Gallagher characterized as “the great unknown.”
“Although health care exchanges are being designed to improve patient health care, from what we’ve been able to gather it appears that they will have medical and pharmacy coverage at a very low level, which will surprise most consumers,” she said. “With open enrollment for health care exchanges beginning in October 2013, our pharmacies will need to be trained in September so they will be able to assist patients with the enrollment process.”
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