2019 Pharmacy Executive Forum Meeting Summaries

A recap of member-led presentations

Every year, the Pharmacy Executive Forum brings together pharmacy leaders from across the country for a series of intimate, discussion-based meetings that provide an opportunity to network, learn from one another’s experiences, and advance strategy on a range of hot topics. At each session, senior pharmacy leaders present curated examples of pharmacy-led initiatives to improve patient care, reduce costs, and creatively solve institutional problems.

On this page, we’ve compiled details on each of the case studies presented, as well as highlights from the in-person meeting discussions. Each meeting in the series features different speakers and different agendas, so stay tuned for updates as we host meetings across the summer.

Jump to:



Member Meeting #1: Washington, DC, April 9, 2019

Slashing Clinic Drug Spend Using Inventory Management Specialists
CoxHealth
  • Locally owned, not-for-profit health system with 6 hospitals, 120+ clinics based in Springfield, MO
  • Medical group VP approached pharmacy for help lowering clinic drug spend; worked with pharmacy to develop an inventory management support pilot that placed a pharmacy-trained ambulatory inventory specialist in medical group clinics
  • Saved $700K in just over one year and expanded inventory specialist support to nearly all of CoxHealth’s 120+ clinics with 3 FTE pharmacy technicians

Download the Case Study

You Don’t Know Until You Ask: Negotiating with Manufacturers for Lower Drug Prices
Marshfield Clinic
  • Health system with 6 hospitals, 50+ clinics based in Marshfield, WI. Began as a physician group in 1916, then started acquiring hospitals 10 years ago
  • Used their consolidated data to systematically review drug costs and identify low- or negative-margin drugs; negotiated with manufacturers to lower costs for select products
  • $400K/year saved by contracting with one sole vaccine supplier; $2M/year saved by requiring use of biosimilar Renflexis

Download the Case Study

Increasing Retail Operating Income with Data-Drive Purchasing Analyses
University of Missouri Health Care
  • Academic medical center with 5 hospitals and 63 clinics
  • Conducted a multi-phase initiative to lower acquisition cost for retail medications by standardizing product selection and ordering across 9 retail locations
  • Standardized 241 generic products, leading to $1.39 million in drug savings, an $88K reduction in inventory, and a 10% increase in wholesaler service level

Download the Case Study

Accelerating Specialty Pharmacy Success with a Strategic Partner
Southern Ohio Medical Center
  • 240-bed hospital with 35 clinics, serving rural areas surrounding Portsmouth, OH
  • Entered into a 10-year partnership with Trellis Rx in 2018 to establish in-house specialty pharmacy capabilities
  • Specialty pharmacy services available for patients in 8 specialty areas and growing; high patient and provider satisfaction, and $446k of medication copay assistance provided in 2018

Download the Case Study



Member Meeting #2: Chicago, IL, May 9, 2019

Establishing a Health System-Owned PBM: From Idea to Impact
UNC Health Care System (UNCHCS)
  • Public academic medical center based in Chapel Hill, NC with an adult, women’s, children’s, neurosciences, and cancer hospital, 11 affiliated hospitals, and 11 retail pharmacies
  • UNCHCS leaders were unsatisfied with their existing pharmacy benefits manager’s ability to control drug costs and provide a high level of customer service for their self-insured employee population; in addition, they also faced rising drug costs for charity care patients
  • To address the problem, pharmacy began by building relationships with key internal stakeholders; with their support, pharmacy then took over PBM functions through a strategic partnership with an external PBM vendor, which saved the health system over $3M in 2018

Download the Case Study

How IU Health Pharmacy Provides Value in the Medical Group Setting
IU Health
  • Not-for-profit, comprehensive health care system based in Indianapolis, IN with 17 hospitals; medical group includes more than 1,500 physicians practicing in 200+ locations statewide
  • Pharmacy centralized medical group drug purchasing and inventory to improve medication safety, reduce costs, mitigate shortages, and enhance operational efficiencies
  • Program saved $500K in the first year, attributable to: bulk buy discounts, waste reduction through unit-dose distribution, and using wholesaler for purchases rather than distributors

Download the Case Study

Sharing Your Specialty Pharmacy Value Story
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Academic medical center in Nashville, TN with an adult hospital, children’s hospital, psychiatric hospital, and rehabilitation hospital, and more than 24,000 employees
  • Vanderbilt specialty pharmacy (VSP) leaders leveraged existing institution resources and built additional data collection capabilities to demonstrate VSP’s value to multiple stakeholders, including payers, manufacturers, and patients
  • For example, among Hepatitis C patients treated by VSP, cure rates (SVR12) were comparable to clinical trials, 100% of patients received access to Hepatitis C medications, and 53% of patients paid $0 out-of-pocket for their treatment

Download the Case Study

Harnessing the Latest Technology to Improve Medication Adherence
Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Partnership between Froedtert Health and the Medical College of Wisconsin based in Milwaukee, WI with an academic medical center, an adult Level I Trauma Center, four community hospital campuses, and 40 health centers and clinics
  • Pharmacy department offers various outpatient digital technologies to improve patient outcomes, engagement, and medication adherence, including:
    • Retail mobile app, on which over 1,700 patients registered and refilled over 4,300 prescriptions via text, app/web, or email in just five months
    • Digital medication technology, through which pharmacy remotely manages patients with hepatitis C, heart failure, and other chronic diseases
    • Diabetes management app, which resulted in a 2.18% reduction in A1c for those enrolled in the program for longer than 6 weeks with a starting A1c ≥9%

Download the Case Study



Member Meeting #3: Dana Point, CA, July 12, 2019

Cedars-Sinai’s Approach to Biosimilars Management
Cedars-Sinai
  • Not-for-profit academic health system based in Los Angeles, CA with three hospital sites, a medical network, affiliates, and more than 4,500 physicians and nurses
  • System acquired multiple outpatient cancer sites and needed a standard approach to review high-cost cancer drugs across the organization
  • Created an oncology P&T committee to review and implement high-cost drugs, including biosimilars, for the whole system based on safety, efficacy, and cost/reimbursement
  • System has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars from switching to biosimilars by evaluating options as they come to market and determining the overall financial impact for the organization

Download the Case Study

Leader of the Pack: How Pharmacy Set the Standard for Enterprise Systemness
UnityPoint Health
  • Network of hospitals, clinics, and home care services based in Des Moines, IA with sites across Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin; annual revenues of $4.4 billion and over 30,000 team members
  • Created a system-level pharmacy structure as the organization acquired more sites across regions
  • System structure allowed pharmacy leaders to efficiently standardize policies (e.g., hazardous drugs, medical marijuana/CBD) and committees (e.g., P&T, ASP)
  • In just two years, the system P&T has reviewed 253 medications (average of 11.5 per month) 26 drug classes, and 38 formulary requests and pharmacy has approved eight system-level policies

Download the Case Study

P&T 2.0: Evaluating Drugs Based on Total Cost of Care
Novant Health
  • 14-hospital, integrated health network based in Winston-Salem, NC serving North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia with more than 1,600 physicians and 28,000 employees across 630 sites
  • Pharmacy evaluates drugs holistically (e.g., likely patient outcomes, appropriate site of service, potential side effects) rather than just on upfront costs and savings during the P&T process
  • Created 1% additional system-wide operating room case volume because Sugammadex increased throughput and outweighed initial upfront cost; also saved $319K on PPI utilization reduction initiative

Download the Case Study

Going Virtual: Centura Health’s Digital Pharmacy Platform
Centura Health
  • Not-for-profit health system based in Centennial, CO comprised of 17 hospitals, 13 affiliate hospitals, health neighborhoods, health at home, urgent and emergency care, mountain clinics, and 100+ physician practices across Colorado and Kansas
  • Pharmacy established a virtual medication review program via video consult to improve medication management of high-risk patients, free up provider time in the clinics, and reduce unnecessary follow-up visits
  • Providers accept pharmacy recommendations 72% of the time for medications, 69% for labs, and 40% for vaccinations; plans to expand program to 35-40 clinics across 2019

Download the Case Study



Member Meeting #4: Chicago, IL, August 6, 2019

Advancing Antimicrobial Stewardship Under Resource Constraints
Knox Community Hospital (KCH) and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (OSUWMC)
  • Formal partnership between an independent, 99-bed community hospital in Mount Vernon, Ohio and an academic medical center with more than 1,500 inpatient beds across 7 hospitals in Columbus, Ohio
  • Annual partnership agreement focuses on improving antimicrobial stewardship in the community hospital by leveraging AMC resources; support includes as-needed remote consultations with ID pharmacists and physicians, ongoing P&T committee participation, and focused support around defined deliverables
  • Early wins for KCH include improving the utility of their antibiogram and reducing research burden on pharmacy staff; OSUWMC also values the program as a sustainable, cost-neutral way to improve health care in hospitals across Ohio

Download the Case Study

How Gundersen's Cash Card Program Lowers Costs for Patients and the Health System
Gundersen Health System
  • Not-for-profit, physician-led health system headquartered in La Crosse, WI; includes a 325-bed teaching hospital and 5 critical access hospitals which collectively serve 19 counties in 3 states
  • Created a system-level pharmacy structure as the organization acquired more sites across regions
  • Patients save an average of $200,000 in out-of-pocket costs per year, and the pharmacy has seen improved fill rates on psychiatric and COPD medications as well as antibiotics; in addition, the program is cost-neutral because it reduces drug acquisition costs by ensuring that eligible purchases can use 340B pricing

Download the Case Study

Succeeding in Specialty Pharmacy as a Community Hospital
Kootenai Health
  • Health system includes a 330-bed community hospital in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and 200+ employed primary and specialty care physicians at 41 clinic locations
  • In 2015, pharmacy leaders began working with colleagues across the health system to educate executives on the specialty pharmacy opportunity and then to establish and grow a successful specialty pharmacy service
  • Specialty pharmacy generated consistent volumes growth and profitability by expanding one service line at a time and working closely with physicians, payers and manufacturers; as of August 2019, the pharmacy had 17 FTE staff members and served patients in approximately 10 specialties

Download the Case Study

Critical Partnerships: Bingham Memorial’s Strategy for Supporting Outlying Partners’ Medication Needs
Bingham Memorial Hospital
  • 25-bed non-profit critical access hospital in Blackfoot, ID, which also owns a 70-bed skilled nursing and rehab center and a hospital-owned physician service organization (PSO) that grew from 4 to 30 sites from 2013 to 2018
  • Pharmacy leaders identified concerns with inventory management and purchasing practices within the PSO clinics; concerning practices included non-compliant sample management, expired medications, and paying unnecessarily high purchase prices for drugs
  • Hospital pharmacy director took on drug purchasing and dispensing for all outpatient settings, reducing outpatient drug spend by more than 18% in one year and generating additional savings across all drug purchases through wholesaler volume discounts

Download the Case Study

2018 Case Study Summaries

2018 Pharmacy Executive Forum Member Case Study Summaries

Learn More