New Hy-Vee Joint Venture to Offer Specialty Pharmacy Services

Regional independent grocer Hy-Vee, Inc. has teamed up with Omaha, Neb.-based Amber Pharmacy to offer specialty pharmacy services through Hy-Vee’s retail stores. The joint venture, called Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions, aims to close the gap between traditional pharmacies and supermarket pharmacies.

“Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions builds a bridge between two different segments of the pharmacy business,” said Bob Egeland, VP of pharmacy operations for West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee. “We’re bringing together experts from retail pharmacy and specialty pharmacy to offer more convenient, more personalized service for patients with complex health care needs.”

According to Bill Kaplan Jr., COO of Amber Pharmacy, the Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions joint venture is unique because it provides “true continuity of care” for patients who are accustomed to dealing with different pharmacy providers in different locations.

“Because Hy-Vee and Amber operate on a common platform, Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions will be able to handle all of a patient’s pharmacy needs through one point of contact — the Hy-Vee pharmacist,” Kaplan said. “Medication therapy management services can take place in a face-to-face setting, rather than on the phone or through the mail, and patients will have access to diet and nutrition services offered in Hy-Vee stores. It’s a personalized, whole-health approach to specialty pharmacy that represents a major departure from the traditional care model.”

Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions will support a range of complex chronic conditions, including cancer, blood disorders, Crohn’s disease, hemophilia, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. Because medications for these conditions are injected, infused, high-cost or otherwise difficult to manage, most retail pharmacies refer patients to one of a few specialty pharmacy providers with expertise in this area. Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions will help patients manage these conditions by assigning a health care team — consisting of an enrollment specialist, pharmacist, patient care coordinator and billing coordinator — to develop an individualized plan for the patient’s clinical care, insurance and financial administrative assistance, educational materials and resources, and follow-up care.

This approach allows patients to obtain all their medications and services from one source, which Hy-Vee said results in greater adherence to the prescribed therapy, improved health, and faster recovery.

Among the additional services offered by Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions:
—Customers can shop for all prescriptions and over-the-counter medications in one location
—Specialty medications can be picked up at Hy-Vee Pharmacies or delivered directly to the customer’s home, office, or location of choice
—Calls to Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions are answered by a live personal care coordinator, not an automated system
—A pharmacist is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions or concerns

Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions is headquartered in Omaha and eventually will provide services to customers in the eight states in which Hy-Vee operates: Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and South Dakota. Hy-Vee and Amber Pharmacy have assembled a marketing team to introduce the company to health care providers, employers and managed care plans in key markets.

“This partnership is an outstanding match because of the synergies between Amber and Hy-Vee in terms of our corporate vision, core values, focus on service and commitment to high-quality clinical care,” said Kaplan.

Hy-Vee operates 228 retail stores in eight Midwestern states, including 226 retail pharmacy locations.
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