Hospice providers are increasingly concerned about medication access due to changes in the pharmacy industry. Many retail pharmacies are trimming hours and closing stores. Meanwhile, long-term care pharmacies are often more focused on serving residential facilities as opposed to hospices serving patients in their own homes. More hospices than ever are turning to Enclara Pharmacia to meet these medication access challenges. We are responding on multiple fronts, including investments in local pharmacy networking and mail order fulfillment.
Strong Community Pharmacy Partnerships
As the nation’s largest hospice pharmacy benefit manager (PBM), Enclara offers hospices access to a comprehensive local pharmacy network, including the Neighborhood Connections™ subset of pharmacies that meet hospice-specific service and inventory standards. To maintain and grow this network, Enclara must deliver value to participating pharmacies.
Enclara’s simplified billing and responsive pharmacy services make Enclara a partner of choice for both retail and closed-door pharmacies. Pharmacies typically accept lower reimbursements with PBMs compared to billing hospices directly, but with Enclara they can come out ahead through lower administrative costs and improved cash flow.
Our commitment to continuous improvement in pharmacy services helps ensure that Enclara’s hospice clients have a wide array of choices in the local pharmacy market. We recently completed our transition to a more efficient and powerful claims processing platform, ensuring accurate and timely payment. Our 24/7 pharmacy support call center has hired additional staff to reduce hold times and speed resolution of billing issues. We are also seeking strategic partnerships with pharmacies in some areas to meet specific medication access challenges.
Growing Interest in Mail Order
While a strong local pharmacy network is essential to hospice medication access, mail order can play an important role, too. In fact, many hospices that never considered mail order before are giving it another look. For some, mail order is a way to meet challenges in specific geographic areas. However, once hospices start incorporating mail order, they tend to adopt it more widely.
Enclara mail order solves several challenges for hospices and their patients. With next-day and second-day shipping direct to patients’ homes, hospices can reduce reliance on expensive courier service. Enclara’s two national fulfillment centers also stock a wide array of palliative care medications that can be difficult to obtain locally. Other services include access to non-sterile compounding and value-priced Enclara ComfortPaksTM, which are used for admissions and emergent needs.
Enclara has been rolling out upgrades to its fulfillment capabilities in recent years to provide the fastest and most reliable service in the industry. This includes new equipment, updated computer systems, and streamlined workflows. One recent innovation is a logistics system that analyzes FedEx performance, flight paths and other factors to determine which fulfillment location and shipping service will provide the fastest delivery. A new “bubble pack” machine will automate multi-dose packaging which many caregivers and facilities prefer.
Hospices appreciate the cost savings and convenience of mail order, but they also see an advantage when it comes to both quality and efficiency. Nurses appreciate that critical palliative care medications are always in stock and experienced pharmacists and technicians are always a phone call away. For managers, the ability to see all associated pharmacy communication and records associated with mail order utilization provides an opportunity to better monitor utilization and identify opportunities for improvement.
Medication Access is Just the Beginning
Flexible and dependable medication access has helped make Enclara the nation’s leading hospice PBM, but it’s just one of the many benefits hospices realize as Enclara clients. Enclara also helps hospices work more efficiently with powerful digital tools and proven workflows. Clinical support and educational opportunities help hospices improve patient care and cultivate talent. Tying it all together is data-driven utilization management support to help hospices improve care while managing costs. We’re more than a vendor, we’re a partner.