There are lots of good reasons to open an in-office retail pharmacy inside your gastroenterology clinic. It is becoming a very popular way to both increase patient medication compliance and to increase revenue for providers. While there are many benefits of having an in-office retail pharmacy, there are several factors to consider when deciding whether it’s the right move for your practice.
First Things First: Laws and Regulations
Some states interpret federal law in such a way that prohibits physicians from owning pharmacies. If your clinic operates in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota or Rhode Island, you are prohibited by state law from having a pharmacy that dispenses medication.
Assuming you don’t live in one of the states that prohibits it, you need to make sure you’re aware of local, state and federal regulations related to operating a pharmacy and rules related to physician-owned pharmacies. Make sure you have attorneys who can advise your practice to make sure you aren’t violating the Stark Law, the Anti-Kickback Statue, or any other federal laws.
Putting a pharmacy in your office requires an investment of upfront cost of construction of the pharmacy, inventory, and pharmacy personnel, but engaging with the right management company can help reduce those costs.
Gastrologix helps guide independent practices through all the legal, regulatory and business complexities associated with initiating and operating an in-office retail pharmacy. In short order, an in-office retail pharmacy can be providing a significant additional revenue stream to your practice.
Increased Medication Compliance and Patient Satisfaction
Providers often face challenges in treating their patients due to medication non-compliance. Put simply, some patients just don’t take their medications, or they don’t take all their medications, or they substitute an over-the-counter medication for the prescription their doctor wrote them.
Having a pharmacy in your clinic can dramatically increase the likelihood that your patients will fill their prescriptions. They can either receive their medications after checking out after their office visit or the medication can be delivered to them once any prior authorizations are obtained.
Regular retail pharmacies often do not carry certain biologics. With an in-office retail pharmacy, you can ensure the patients are receiving their medications and staying the course of their treatment. The pharmacy is integrated into your electronic medical records system, allowing the pharmacy team to document when the patient received their medications and alert your clinical team when they are not compliant. This saves you from worrying that they’ll take their medication
Saving a trip to another pharmacy will be a big help for some patients, especially if they are elderly or have mobility issues. Making your clinic a one-stop shop leads to better patient service and greater patient satisfaction.
It will also save your clinical staff a lot of time. Your pharmacy team will handle prior authorizations, which can be especially time-consuming for biologics. This will reduce the amount of time your nurses spend the phone, allowing them to do what they do best – care for patients.
When You’re Ready, Assemble the Right Team
If you live in one the states that allows it, opening a pharmacy in your GI clinic may be a good move for your practice. Gastrologix can leverage our experience and partnerships to help you navigate through the initial phases of setting up a pharmacy. Our partnerships with industry can help determine the best path to maximizing revenue through our group purchasing organization (GPO) program. Reach out to us today to find out how we can help your practice benefit from an in-office retail pharmacy.