Pharmacy partnerships help reduce readmissions

With the recent focus on reducing hospital readmissions, most of us are familiar with the stats: one in five Medicare patients is readmitted within 30 days, costing the health care system $26 billion each year.

But the numbers don’t tell patients’ stories. Avoidance, fear and confusion can impact a patient’s care at home and result in another trip to the hospital.

In a recent McKnight’s LTC News & Assisted Living article,  Parata CEO Tom Rhoads relates his own story about hospital readmissions, which can be triggered by confusion about medication.

Read the full article here: Pharmacy partnerships help reduce readmissions

Innovation and Service Drive 125 Years of Success

Joseph Moose, Pharm.D.

Joseph Moose, Pharm.D.
Moose Pharmacy, Concord, N.C.

Caring for patients has been in my family’s blood for generations. The first Moose Pharmacy, which still stands today, opened in 1882 in Mount Pleasant, N.C. Today my brother Whit and I run five locations across the state.

Despite our old-fashioned pharmacy background, we are innovating continuously to stay competitive. We use technology to free our time to spend more time with patients, and we offer specialty services that allow us to provide a high level of care and bring value that draws customers to our pharmacies.

At our Concord location, where I primarily work, we offer compounding services. We provide natural hormone replacement therapy, pain medications, veterinary medicines and alternative methods of taking medicines. We also offer an adherence program and medication therapy management services. The essence of this age-old pharmacy practice is catering your business to what your patients want and need – and providing them with something they may not be able to get elsewhere in the area.

But the best value in offering specialty services is in their impact on patients. I ask myself every day, “What have I done today to change the lives of my patients?” If I can’t answer it, then I haven’t yet accomplished my tasks for the day.

Pharmacists play a crucial role in the health of patients and too often, I think often we get caught up in the difficulty of running our pharmacy businesses. When we are able to spend time with patients and listen to their needs and concerns, we can impact their health outcomes and transform our pharmacies into places they go for treatment and counseling, not just for medications.

I’m proud to have been recognized by the Next-Generation Pharmacist program for this mindset, which drives the Moose family pharmacies. Caring for patients on a deeper level is what has helped us continue to grow our business over the past 125 years.

Chain Drug Review Asks CEO Tom Rhoads: What does the future hold?

The nation’s leading chain drug publication recently asked Parata CEO Tom Rhoads to weigh in on the role technology will have in our nation’s changing healthcare industry. We captured some of the highlights for this post.

CDR: A recent report noted that the global market for pharmacy automation is projected to reach nearly $3.9 billion in 2017. What is driving this growth, and how will patients and pharmacists be affected?

Tom:  When you recognize that 10 percent of your patients represent 50 percent of your revenue, the urgent question on the table becomes: Are you being intentional about engaging and retaining your customers? If you’re not, you can be sure that many of your competitors are.

I believe we’re seeing a market in catch-up mode to the 30 to 40 percent of pharmacies that have already automated. Automation allows pharmacy staff to deliver services that create sustainable competitive advantage. Those who are actively redeploying resources toward the patient-centric strategies will win in the coming healthcare transformation.

CDR: What role will technology play in helping the country’s health care system make a smooth transition to the new market dynamics?

Tom: As health care shifts from a fee-for-service revenue model to an outcomes-based model, pharmacy has an opportunity to make a compelling case that it is the best provider to impact medication adherence — a key factor in improving patient outcomes. Technology can help pharmacies drive adherence.

CDR: How can community pharmacies integrate technology systems into their operations?

Tom: As CMS and private insurers begin to rate pharmacies on their ability to impact health outcomes, pharmacies must move beyond dispensing to a clinical focus around adherence. Pharmacies have a unique opportunity to help patients manage their diseases more efficiently by improving adherence through medication therapy management and a delivery mechanism like Parata PASS™ adherence packaging.

The bottom line: “You must come to the table with bold, new ideas about how to contribute to outcomes across the patient care continuum, or you risk being excluded altogether.”

To read the full roundtable discussion, flip to page 17 of the January 21, 2013 issue of Chain Drug Review.

How is technology changing healthcare in your world? Share!

Giving Back Returns Dividends for Independents

Pete Crouch, pharmacist at Eden Drugs gives back to his community

Pete Crouch
Eden Drug

I love being a pharmacist because I like taking care of people. At Eden Drug, we’ve decided from the day my wife Debbie and I bought the store seven years ago that we would seek to do something bigger through our business for the community of 16,000 that we call home.

Debbie is a teacher, so we found ourselves drawn to programs that support literacy and education. Eden Drug has given 2,000 backpacks to kids in need. We organized a “spend local” campaign where employees were awarded $2,000 in $2 bills to spend with local businesses as a local stimulus. We regularly offer free diabetes and heart health classes to help people manage their diseases. And last summer, we celebrated the store’s 30th anniversary, throwing a party with and for the community where we gave away more than 800 hotdogs, hosted a vintage car show and offered all kinds of fun and games for families.
In response, Eden Drug has been voted the county’s favorite pharmacy for the last five years (Debbie and I have owned the business for seven years). And, we have been blessed to experience strong year-over-year growth in an environment where many independent pharmacies are struggling to maintain their volume.

Eden Drug has given 2,000 backpacks to kids in need and continues to invest in the community.

Eden Drug has given 2,000 backpacks to kids in need and continues to invest in the community.

It is part of our business philosophy to invest in our community. Beyond the social good we seek to accomplish, it is a commitment that larger competitors cannot emulate, so it does create a competitive advantage for us. Further, with a genuine, sustained commitment to serving residents, they recognize and respond; here is just a sample of some recent feedback:

“Best Customer Service in Town! Helpful, friendly & always glad to see me when I come in. Keep up the good work!” (Bev)

“I think your meetings are extremely educational & I enjoy them so much. I hope you will continue the meetings for a long time.” (Via)

Last year, I was honored as Civic Leader of the Year in the Next-Generation Pharmacist program. It was a great experience to be recognized and honored among my peers for something so core to our business. I’d like to share some simple tips to help your pharmacy identify and embrace community investment:

1.  Find an unmet local need suited to your talents and/or interests.

2.  Join PDS (Pharmacy Development Services). That’s where I get a lot of the ideas for our pharmacy, including The Sweet Spot diabetes education program, free vitamins for kids, among others. They and their members always have great new ideas to share and try. (Learn more at

3.  Commit and sustain. It is not how much you do, as much as it is how long you do it. Pick a few things you and your staff can get behind and stick with it. You’ll be surprised how quickly it starts to build awareness and interest in your pharmacy.

Pharmacies Can Save Thousands in “Fiscal Cliff” Fix

If you want to see your pharmacy’s quiet accountant get talking, just ask her about Section 179. Recent changes to the federal tax incentive mean that capital equipment purchases you made in 2012 — or investments you plan to make in 2013 — may have a bigger impact on your bottom line than you expected. Your savings may be in the thousands. Now that’s something to talk about.

Under House Resolution 8: American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (better known as the “Fiscal Crisis Bill”), Congress more than doubled the 2012 deduction for financed or leased equipment that was placed into service by year-end. Even better, the enhanced deduction is available through 2013.

And the change couldn’t have come at a better time. With pharmacies focused on growth as a strategy to manage increasing volume, lower profit margins and consolidation, automation is an excellent way to decrease cost per prescription and enable higher-value services, such as long-term care and medication therapy management.

Here’s a quick look at how the legislation changed the incentive.

Section 179 Federal Tax Incentive 2012
Deduction $139K $500K $25K $500K
Bonus depreciation 50% 50% 0% 50%
Limit on overall spend $560K $2 million $200K $2 million

*retroactive to Jan. 1, 2012

Now is the time to invest in technology. Parata automation qualifies for the Section 179 incentive, depending on your tax situation. For more information, contact Parata at Of course, be sure to consult your accountant to explore potential tax savings for your pharmacy. She’ll no doubt have plenty to say.

Case Study: Pharmacy Provides Smarter, Safer Med-Pass

Mississippi-based Tara Pharmacy has a goal: to provide better patient care at less cost.

But with a slow, cumbersome med-pass process based on blister packs, Tara’s Director of Pharmacy Jimmy Tucker faced a significant challenge to achieving this crucial objective.

For Tucker, the solution was clear: Parata PASS Pack™.

Watch the video below to learn how Parata PASS™ (Patient Adherence Strip System) has impacted Tara Pharmacy, and one of its facilities, the Brandon Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. You’ll hear from Tucker and his team, the facility’s Director of Nursing, and nurses who love the easier, faster med-pass process.

Tara’s costs are down, they’re generating less waste, and safety and accuracy are higher than they’ve ever been.

And, nurses are freed up to spend more quality time with their patients. (If you call to check on Grandma, the nurse can tell you how she’s doing today.)

Mark Aurit: Putting Patients First

Mark Aurit lives by his philosophy that the patient comes first.

Mark owns and operates the Gateway HealthMart Pharmacy in Bismarck, N.D., and has implemented dispensing automation and strip packaging to help him provide the best service and the highest level of care possible.

And it’s working. In 2010, Mark was selected as the Next-Generation Pharmacist of the Year, recognized for his uncompromising focus on advancing patient care, his innovation in pharmacy practice, and his commitment to advancing the pharmacy industry.

In the video below, Mark describes the role Parata Max™ automation plays in his pharmacy and asserts that in the future, “pharmacies large and small will need some type of automation . . . to free up their time.”

Check it out.

Grow Your Business with Next-Generation Automation

We recently sat down with Robert Johnson — owner of Green’s Fortuna Pharmacy in California, and a long-time Parata customer. Robert told us why automation has been essential to his business growth, and the happiness of his staff, for more than 10 years.

Robert’s advice: If you’re doing more than 250 scripts per day, you really need to look at all your options for automation.

Staying on Track — Drug Companies Push for Medication Adherence

Each morning on the drive to work, I pass through an intersection with several train tracks, a tiny train station, and a huge sign:


A multi-ton freight train barreling down the tracks is a pretty good incentive to abide by the rules, and the deafening noise and brain-rattling vibrations are hard-to-ignore reminders.

But how do you encourage people to adhere to the rules when the risks aren’t so obvious?

Medication non-adherence causes an estimated 125,000 deaths in the United States each year. Their lives may depend on it, but for a variety of reasons, patients just aren’t following the rules.

We tend to focus on medication adherence from a pharmacist’s perspective. This recent Forbes article calls drug companies to action — after all, the pharmaceutical industry loses an estimated $188 billion each year when patients don’t take their medications.

Since their direct contact with patients is very limited, drug companies are exploring alternatives.

HealthPrize, a digital health start-up, encourages adherence before patients stop taking their meds. It offers incentives for actions such as refilling a medication. Patients receive points, and the pharmaceutical company determines the rewards.

Another start-up called RxAnte uses algorithms to identify the patients who are most likely to stop taking their meds. RxAnte shares this information with its clients, like Medicare. The course of action is left up to the client.

Preventative medicine and medication adherence are getting a lot of attention these days. Do you think a full-team approach from the healthcare industry will help solve the problem of medication non-adherence?

Read the full article here:

The Cost of Readmissions

The federal government has been spending $17 billion each year on hospital readmissions. Now, in light of the Affordable Care Act, it’s cracking down — on the readmissions and the expenses.

Nearly one in five Medicare patients returns to the hospital within a month, but until now, hospitals have had no incentive to make sure patients didn’t come right back. This New York Times article explains why.

“Medicare generally pays hospitals a set fee for a patient’s stay, so the shorter the stay, the more revenue a hospital can keep. Hospitals also get paid when patients return.”

Not anymore. Last month, Medicare began imposing fines against more than 2,000 hospitals that have readmitted too many patients. Some hospitals will lose as much as $2 million this year from reductions in Medicare’s payments.

The fines are intended to address a bigger issue: what happens to patients after they walk out of the hospital.

But will it work? What should hospitals do to prevent readmissions? And do the penalties address the real problem?

Share your thoughts.

Back To Top