A New Place on the Continuum

September 23, 2015

Hospitals & Health Networks (Sloane, 9/23) reported that to create new revenue and build a more complete continuum of care, health systems have turned to owning outpatient retail pharmacies: “A big reason for a retail pharmacy strategy is to ensure that patients leaving the hospital fill their prescriptions and understand how to take the medications.” Unfilled prescriptions and adherence to medication use “can lead to readmissions and worse outcomes.” Unlike other retail pharmacies, 340B-eligible covered entities are able to “provide lower cost drugs to underinsured, uninsured and indigent patients, and all patients of the hospital who meet the 340B eligibility requirements. … Health systems’ outpatient clinics may be covered as part of the parent 340B organization or child site under the program, so 340B-eligible prescriptions can be dispensed at these facilities.” Hospital-owned outpatient pharmacies also have an advantage in monitoring medication adherence through access to a patient’s electronic health record.