Is it time to take a fresh look at your contract pharmacy relationships?

Avani Patel, Sr. Director, Network Development and Pharmacy Support, PSG 340B Solutions
May 27, 2020

As communities enforce stay-at-home orders, hospitals are noticing a drop in 340B savings resulting from patients using unregistered pharmacy locations and mail order pharmacies to fill their scripts. At PSG, we’ve recently kicked off a significant effort helping hospitals register additional pharmacies with the goal of maintaining a consistent volume of 340B scripts in light of new prescription trends in geography and channel.

Under special accommodations enabled by the COVID-19 public health emergency, HRSA is allowing entities to request immediate enrollment and eligibility of these new pharmacies on a case-by-case basis, when the need is COVID-19-related. To request immediate registration (or to request immediate eligibility for a pharmacy registered during the April registration period), reach out to Apexus at 1-888-340-2787 or [email protected]. Since new eligibility dates are dependent upon when the request is submitted, you’ll want to make your request as soon as possible to optimize capture of eligible scripts. (We cover recommendations for optimizing new contract pharmacy, mail order and specialty locations here.)

If you’re currently considering an expansion of your contract pharmacy network, it’s a great time to also ask yourself: do you have the right 340B third-party administrator (TPA) to support growing these newly-added contract pharmacies into successful partners?

A valuable component of 340B success

More than nearly any stakeholders, contract pharmacy staff are on the front lines of a successful 340B program, and they’re being asked to take on an even larger role serving patients in the COVID-19 environment. They have daily questions about billing, inventory, retro reclassification, claims qualification and more, and they need training and support. In fact, the need for support on the contract pharmacy side may be equal to the need on the covered entity side, even though the specific concerns and questions may be different. Pharmacies are a vital element of the 340B ecosystem, and yet, it’s common for 340B administrators to neglect the training and support needed to make them successful.

Four ways your TPA can contribute to stronger contract pharmacy relationships

When I joined PSG, I knew I wanted to leverage my pharmacy experience to build a better support team for pharmacies, comprised of pharmacy experts from the hospital, retail, and specialty settings, who understand the needs of both covered entities and pharmacies. Today, our six-member Network Development and Pharmacy Support team is focused exclusively on helping covered entities create long-lasting relationships that result in financial benefit for both the pharmacy and covered entity. We help launch hundreds of new partnerships each registration period, and our experience has taught us a few key factors essential to a successful and long-term pharmacy relationship:

Proactive communication. Whenever possible, we reach out to pharmacies in advance to notify them of incoming inventory and other actions that will impact their business. We also check in with our customers’ largest 340B contract pharmacy partners on a regular basis to listen to their challenges and recommendations, and we work together to find solutions.

Transparency. We’re honest with pharmacies regarding the challenges they may face, the financial benefit they can expect and realistic timelines. It’s not uncommon for a pharmacy to consider terminating a relationship due to a misunderstanding, so we make sure to set clear expectations, avoid overpromising and continue to communicate as changes occur.

Trust. We maintain a relationship of trust and respect by honoring the preferences of our covered entities’ pharmacies, considering the financial and inventory impact of a covered entity’s ordering habits and working to negotiate solutions that work for both sides. We work with entities to review their 340B policies and procedures with consideration for their pharmacies’ best interests as well as their own.

Training and support. We make sure pharmacies have the tools they need to work with you effectively – and know who to call when they need a hand or have a question.

Your pharmacy partners play a valuable role in the success of your program. I urge you to make sure you have the right 340B TPA to help you nurture each relationship for mutual benefit.

To learn more about PSG’s Network Link solution for contract, specialty and mail order pharmacies, including integrated qualification and reporting for your Walgreens and CVS locations, request a complimentary, 30-minute pharmacy network review with tips for optimizing your pharmacy network.

Request Complimentary Pharmacy Review |

Avani Patel has more than 19 years’ experience in 340B, pharmacy operations, and healthcare implementation initiatives and is an Apexus Certified 340B Expert as well as a Certified Pharmacy Technician.