Retailers lead off NACDS effort to test vaccination models
SEATTLE — Bartell Drugs and QFC Pharmacy, the pharmacy arm of Kroger Co.’s QFC Stores supermarket chain, have launched projects to test models for pharmacy-provided immunizations.
As part of a National Association of Chain Drug Stores initiative announced in late July, Bartell and QFC are partnering with the University of Washington School of Pharmacy (UWSOP) and the Washington State Health Care Authority to demonstrate health care collaborations that improve immunizations rates via pharmacy-administered vaccinations, such as for flu, pneumonia, whooping cough and shingles.
Specifically, the pharmacy retailers, UWSOP and the state health authority will develop and implement a value-based payment model for immunizations for a targeted population, recorded in the state registry. The models will feature methods for sharing immunization information among the participating health plans or health systems, accountable care organizations, community pharmacies and patients.
“Bartell Drugs has been a regional leader in promoting and providing convenient, affordable access to immunizations, and this project will further our ability to reach more audiences in need of immunization,” Billy Chow, vice president of pharmacy operations and clinical services at Bartell, said in a statement.
Under the projects, the teams also will work with public health agencies to improve pandemic vaccine preparedness.
“We are thrilled to continue to improve the shopping experience and add convenience for our patients through this NACDS project,” stated Chuck Paulsen, pharmacy merchandiser for QFC Stores. “The increased awareness and transparency of community-based [immunizations] will further our mission of improving the health of our patients and local communities we serve.”
UWSOP faculty have advocated for expanding the health care role of pharmacists, including practice innovations such as pharmacy-provided vaccines. The pharmacy college said the NACDS project brings together faculty researchers and practitioners, who will tap into the school’s broad base of knowledge in patient care best practices, ranging from pandemic health to on-site coaching.
“We are excited about this demonstration project that brings together top community pharmacy providers and faculty from the School of Pharmacy with expertise in implementation science and population health,” commented professor Sean Sullivan, dean of UWSOP. “This project will build on our legacy of improving community access to pharmacist-administered vaccinations and evaluating the impact of these important services on population health outcomes.”
The Bartell-QFC-UWSOP project is one of three stemming from an $800,000 grant to NACDS from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The other two projects team Hy-Vee with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the Nebraska Health Network and the University of Iowa Health Alliance, and Giant Eagle with the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Health Plan.
NACDS has contributed an additional $300,000 to the CDC grant to execute the demonstration projects, which will run for a 13-month period starting this month.
Increasingly, pharmacists are recognized as the front line of health care in communities, according to NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson. “Legislators and regulators at the federal and state levels often reference pharmacists’ success in promoting the necessity of vaccines and in increasing access to them,” he stated.