The Hospital-Pharmacy Connection

The latest trend we see in the health care marketplace, specifically for hospitals, are their pleas to pharmacies for assistance.  

Why are hospitals asking pharmacies for help these days? First reason is that our federal government began heavily punishing hospitals for patient readmissions beginning this past October, 2012. Current statistics from the Center for Medicare Services show that one Medicare patient out of every five comes back to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged. Currently footing the bill for those return trips are the American taxpayers, to the tune of more than $17 billion dollars annually and growing….

Hospitals are now reaching out to their local pharmacy for assistance in the care of their discharged patients. Specifically patients who leave the hospital with a long laundry list of medications to follow.  Pharmacies have been contracting with hospitals to provide and match pharmacists to recently discharged patients. These pharmacists act as “facilitators” or “patient coaches.” With the assistance of pharmacies/pharmacists, patients are provided with education and assistance to ensure they both understand why they will be taking certain medications and ensure that said medications are taken properly and accurately. 

While this partnering with pharmacies is a new and added expense for hospitals, it limits the number of re-admissions, thus avoiding reimbursement cuts from Medicare.

Steven Bisciello is a Health Care Services Group Director experienced in revenue enhancement programs, health care litigation, compliance and physician practice management.

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