The One Item All Hospices Should Order NowJanuary 19, 2018
3 Money-Saving Tips
by Dr. Ike’s Pharmacare’s Pharmacist-in-Charge
Dr. Rozie Gevorkian, PharmD
Patients are always
When it comes to hospice care, patients are always the priority. Besides providing total patient care, hospices are businesses that address a range of other matters. Budgeting and finance is one of the biggest challenges for Hospices. Facilitating cost-reduction while sustaining high levels of care are hospice priorities and Dr. Ike’s Pharmacare prides itself on having the most effective cost-reduction and strategic billing service available!
As Pharmacist-in-Charge it is my job to oversee all cost, insurance and billing related matters. I also attend IDT meetings to work with our clients and their Doctors to put cost reduction into practice.
As most of us know, current regulations require hospices to cover the cost of all palliative medications, as well as medications related to patients’ primary diagnosis. The medications necessary to manage some diagnoses can be significantly more costly than others (for example, COPD patients can be very expensive since most inhalers are brand only, costing up to $300 each). Without getting into a diagnosis-specific discussion, there are some general strategies to consider when finalizing medication regimens.
The first step is to do a thorough medication profile review at the time of admission to identify issues such as medication duplications, drug interactions, cost, and medication appropriateness. Our Pharmacists are trained to be extremely effective at these reviews and advising hospices on all these matters. At Dr. Ike’s Pharmacare we provide this service routinely for all hospice patients. We base the review on patient’s primary diagnosis and recommend changes to therapy, which then gets reviewed and finalized by the hospice doctor.
We are the Customer Service Pharmacy and we work hard to meet the needs of our clients in the challenging Hospice industry. Saving money for our clients is our highest priority and why we have so many clients who have been with us over the years.
In addition to prescription drugs, many of the most unnecessary expenses are over-the-counter (OTC) items such as vitamins. Even though most of them are not related to diagnosis, hospices pay for them because insurances generally won’t cover OTC items. This does not always have to be the case, for example when fish oil is not covered by insurance, I will usually recommend changing it to the generic prescription drug Lovaza, which IS covered by most plans with a minimal co-pay, or low-potency steroid creams in place of OTC hydrocortisone 1%, and even anti-fungal creams such as ketoconazole instead of OTC clotrimazole.
There are many other OTC drugs which Dr. Ike’s Pharmacare work to change to prescription ‘equivalents’, meaning the burden of payment is shifted away from the Hospice!