Regional drug chain Care Pharmacies is looking to step up expansion in 2014.

Care Pharmacies, Michael Wysong, regional drug chain, pharmacy, five-star rating, Medicare Part D program, Pharmacy Quality Alliance, prescription synchronization, Defining the Quality of Care, Affordable Care Act, ACA, health care reform, specialty pharmacy

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Care Pharmacies amplifies its strengths

April 26th, 2014

LINTHICUM, Md. – Regional drug chain Care Pharmacies is looking to step up expansion in 2014.

After opening seven pharmacy locations during 2013, the chain is projecting a dozen openings for this year, according to chief executive officer Michael Wysong.

Care Pharmacies has stores of various shapes and sizes, from units in medical buildings to corner stores and freestanding outlets, all set up to cater to the needs of their local communities. “It’s absolutely not one-size-fits-all,” Wysong commented.

Along with a headquarters move to greater Baltimore from suburban Washington, D.C., last year, Care Pharmacies bolstered its executive team with new directors of operations, marketing and third-party contracting.

“We’ve started to see the early returns from that,” Wysong said, citing the retailer’s expansion to 11 states plus the District of Columbia. Overall, the chain has 76 stores.

Also last year, after nearly doubling its revenue in 2012, Care Pharmacies concentrated on upgrading its internal infrastructure in pursuit of the coveted five-star rating for the Medicare Part D program.

“We were squarely focused on quality compliance and boosting adherence,” Wysong said.

The year saw the chain recognized by the Pharmacy Quality Alliance for its establishment of prescription synchronization. The undertaking was part of “Defining the Quality of Care,” the retailer’s initiative to increase compliance and drive better outcomes.
Care is distinctive in that it is structured like a regional chain but its stores are independently owned and operated.

“We tried to take that chain operating structure and apply it in tandem with the strength of our independent owner/operator model to do all the little things that a traditional big-box retailer can’t do,” said Wysong. “We just needed the infrastructure to support driving and documenting quality outcomes.”

The effort has positioned the company well for the remainder of this year and the initial effects of the Affordable Care Act. Having built out its media platforms, including its website and social media presence, the company can effectively communicate with members and customers about the law’s ­implications.

“It’s fundamentally changing the way we do business,” Wysong said of the ACA. “We’re in a fortunate position because we have the best of both worlds — independent ownership and a retail chain. Health care reform is going to require expertise in the areas in which we’re well positioned. Our biggest challenge is maintaining access to patients from both a network perspective and a drug perspective.”

The expertise of Care owner/operators extends to specialty pharmacy, especially for HIV patients, whom the chain’s Washington outlets have served for more than two decades.