BESSEMER, Ala.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--University of Alabama Medicine Health System (UAB) affiliate Medical West Hospital is pleased to announce the launch and strong initial performance of its own retail ambulatory-based pharmacy. The pharmacy was established through a joint venture with ShiftRx, which also managed the pharmacy acquisition, pharmacy updates, and pharmacy operations. The service required zero capital investment from Medical West, as ShiftRx brought critical funding and operational cash flow to the joint venture.
The new pharmacy not only drives new revenue for the hospital, it has also improved the availability and convenience of prescription pick-up for employees and patients. Services have been expanded to include a meds-to-bed program with high capture ratios and extended hours for same-day surgery and for the emergency room. These services have improved medication adherence, reduced readmissions, and provided vital support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When optimized, retail and specialty pharmacy service lines together account for greater net profits than a hospital’s outpatient surgeries and ambulatory care. Recognizing the opportunity to increase revenue and enhance the health of its employees and outpatients, Medical West made the decision to establish its own retail pharmacy before the onset of the pandemic. ShiftRx and the hospital collaborated on the best approach to safety protocols—including COVID testing, training of staff and remote workers, and the provision of resources and patient education—that allowed for the pharmacy to complete its construction during COVID; these safety protocols were maintained after the program’s successful launch. ShiftRx and the hospital also collaborated on COVID labor transitions, additional compliance, and financial reporting.
“The partnership we struck with ShiftRx was absolutely critical for getting the project done in such turbulent times,” said Kevin Pennington, CEO and President of Medical West. “ShiftRx handled the normal pressures of opening a retail pharmacy on top of the additional COVID requirements and management of vendors, contractors, construction crew, and healthcare providers. With hospital collaboration and a great team, where setbacks could have been expected, nursing staff, physicians, and pharmacy personnel excelled and put the needs of the patients first.”
As ShiftRx President of Pharmacy Services Nick Campolongo recounts, “This was a great project that allowed the strengths of all the organizations involved—including key vendors and the pharmacy board—to get the project done under budget. The pharmacy was created using modularized and portable automation, so that when UAB Medical West opens its new hospital, the complete pharmacy will be relocated. The results of those efforts are really paying off for Medical West’s patient and employees, who no longer have to go to a different location to fill their prescriptions. With our experienced team managing the pharmacy for Medical West, the financial benefits are now showing.”
During the pandemic, the benefits of an in-house retail and specialty pharmacy are not only greater convenience but also greater safety, as the avoidance of travel helps minimizes opportunities for exposure. Further, the financial gain from bringing these service lines in-house—without necessitating the hiring of additional staff—allows the hospital to continue providing much-needed care even in an acutely challenging financial climate. This is especially true in light of the financial losses from the postponement or cancellation of outpatient surgeries and other procedures during COVID-19 related lockdowns.
As the launch of Medical West’s pharmacy and other examples show, new risk-sharing and joint venture arrangements put opening and operating a retail and specialty pharmacy within reach for mid-sized and large hospitals and health systems. Sharing operating responsibilities with expert organizations also means that hospitals can optimize outpatient pharmacy services. “ShiftRx has been a wonderful partner to work with in 2020 and we look forward to our longstanding relationship and management agreement with them,” said Brandon Slocum, Medical West’s Chief Financial Officer.
About Medical West Hospital
UAB Health System is a $5.6 billion, 14-hospital organization that includes a wholly owned insurance plan. Medical West Hospital is a 310-bed acute care hospital with 13 outpatient health centers serving the communities of West Jefferson County and West Hoover. The hospital offers a wide range of diagnostic, surgical, medical, and emergency services.
In addition to the $15 million main campus renovation, the hospital recently became home to the state's first Freestanding Emergency Department (FED) off Highway 150 in Hoover. The new 24,342 square foot FED consists of 10 exam rooms, including two trauma rooms, CT, X-ray, ultrasound, EKG, laboratory and room for expansion.
Primary care physicians, specialists, and sub-specialists have offices located on the main campus in the Professional Office Building. Residents of Bessemer, Hoover, McCalla, Tannehill, Hueytown, and Vance benefit from the convenience of Medical West family practice and internal medicine health centers located in their neighborhoods.
ShiftRx is a strategic partner, investor, and pharmacy transformation company focused exclusively on the healthcare industry pharmacy sector. ShiftRx provides the capital and expertise to help health systems grow their markets in ambulatory pharmacy, specialty pharmacy, and pharmacy benefits administration. Collaborating with healthcare partners in creative ways to accelerate growth and value creation, we transform pharmacy businesses into market leaders.