Thrifty Pharmacy:

New Pharmacy Revenue of $10 per Claim and Hospice Savings of More than $100,000.

Independent Thrifty Pharmacy in Providence, Kentucky was losing money on every script they filled for a local hospice. Pharmacy/Owner Tom Glover recognized that through AmerisourceBergen’s Pharmacy;Hospice Administrator;(PHA) program, he could:

  • Work with the hospice directly
  • Eliminate the third party administrator
  • Improve his reimbursement
  • Save the hospice agency money

As a result, Thrifty Pharmacy has:

  • Quadrupled its reimbursement over cost for each claim processed for the hospice
  • Achieved a 42 percent decrease in per-patient-day home care pharmacy costs
  • Projected savings of more than $100,00 in the first year of the program for the hospice agency

About the Pharmacy

In business since 1976, Thrifty Pharmacy in Providence, Kentucky is a small independent pharmacy serving communities in rural Kentucky. Thrifty Pharmacy has built its reputation on its excellent customer service and accuracy. Thrifty Pharmacy has been partnering with AmerisourceBergen since 1999 and is part of the Good Neighbor Pharmacy® network.

The Challenge: Turning a Loss into a Win-win Opportunity

Residents of western Kentucky turn to Thrifty Pharmacy for reliable, patient-focused service. To help him maintain the pharmacy’s reputation for quality service, Tom Glover, Pharmacist/Owner at Thrifty Pharmacy relies on strong partners including AmerisourceBergen.

AmerisourceBergen is the pharmacy’s primary wholesaler and the pharmacy takes advantage of a wide range of support through the Good Neighbor Pharmacy program. 

Glover’s long hours are just one example of his commitment to the community and meeting the needs of all of his customers. His generous community spirit was further demonstrated as he extended his pharmacy’s services to a hospice in the region. “We had a very good relationship with the hospice despite the extremely low reimbursement margins. So while we lost money on every script we filled for the hospice, we considered it a donation,” Glover said.

Glover began to see an opportunity to end these losses, however, when he read about the Pharmacy Hospice Administrator (PHA) program from AmerisourceBergen and learned how the program could allow him to contract direct with the Hospice, replacing the need for a Third Party Administrator. “Through articles in Good Neighbor Pharmacy newsletters and other publications, I saw that working with the hospice directly could be a financial win-win for us and the hospice.”

The Solution: Launching the AmerisourceBergen PHA Program at Thrifty

Glover did further research, discussed details with AmerisourceBergen managed care specialists and ultimately decided to implement a PHA program at his pharmacy.

To serve the needs of the hospice across three counties, Glover put together a network of local pharmacies including three other independent pharmacies in addition to Thrifty Pharmacy. “I didn’t have the desire or the time to be the clinical person, and one of the other independents had experience with clinical work in a nursing home, so he handles that area for this hospice client,” Glover noted. 

As organizations based in the same community, the pharmacies and their hospice client have a strong basis for partnership, and all have benefited from AmerisourceBergen’s PHA program.

We could not have done this without the expertise and experience of AmerisourceBergen,” Glover said.

“They had the apparatus in place, and once we began to do serious planning it just started sailing from there. We got everyone on board, got the legal work taken care of, and it has gone very smoothly.” 

The Results: Increased Pharmacy Reimbursements and Significant Hospice Savings

With the PHA program from AmerisourceBergen, Thrifty Pharmacy in Providence, Kentucky receives, in addition to its claims reimbursements, quarterly payments for serving as the PHA and has quadrupled its reimbursement per claim processed for the hospice. “We’ve moved to market average, but it was so low previously that it’s a significant increase,” Glover said.

Glover emphasized that the increase in gross profit from $3 per claim to $13.00 also reflects value-added elements including delivery and 24/7 service. “And this increase extends to the other community pharmacies in our network in addition to Thrifty.” 

For Glover’s pharmacy, additional benefits of serving as the PHA include:

  • The direct dialogue with the hospice client by bypassing the third party
  • Opportunities for future programs for other payers in the region
  • Insight into the pharmacy administration business to help build new relationships in the community between local pharmacies and payers

The hospice agency has also benefited from Thrifty Pharmacy’s ability to eliminate the middle man and directly manage their medication management with a 42 percent decrease in its per-patient-day homecare pharmacy costs. Thanks to the direct contract, and the early experience, the hospice projects a savings of more than $100,000 in the first year of the program alone.

In addition to lowering its drug costs, by eliminating the Third Party Administrator, the hospice agency has also realized additional benefits, including:

  • Online access to its data and online reports whenever needed
  • Shared accountability and transparent pricing in partnership with the local pharmacy to reduce drug spend
  • Having the local pharmacy provide Conditions of Participation (COP) required by Medicare for certain patients
  • Enabling the hospice to focus on patients’ palliative needs while relying on the pharmacy to manage the medication needs

“I’ve long been aware that AmerisourceBergen provides a good service for a good price. As my wholesaler, they are reliable, they’re easy to work with, and they provide the supplies and information that I need,”

With the PHA program, I have the value of increased reimbursement for hospice claims and opportunities for added revenue as we expand this business to other clients in the future.

By taking advantage of AmerisourceBergen’s Pharmacy Hospice Administrator program, my pharmacy and the other independents in the network—have the value of increased reimbursement for each hospice claim we process and terrific longer term potential for revenue growth by extending this service to other payers.”

– Tom Glover, R.Ph., Owner,Thrifty Pharmacy