Shields Health Solutions Improves Medication Affordability for Diabetes Patients

Shields care model reduces annual out-of-pocket costs by more than 50%

BOSTON--()--Shields Health Solutions, the premier specialty pharmacy accelerator in the country, is drastically improving medication affordability for its diabetes patients through its high-touch pharmacy care model. Since 2018, Shields has been simplifying pharmacy care for diabetes patients and clinics through its pharmacy liaison-based model, bringing average annual out-of-pocket costs for insulin-dependent patients to $225, more than 50% lower than the national average.1

Shields supports 44 diabetes clinics at 14 partner health systems nationwide, and currently serves nearly 4000 diabetes patients across these systems. Its integrated care model embeds pharmacy liaisons in specialty and diabetes clinics to take on benefits investigation, prior authorization, financial assistance and refill reminder responsibilities that normally fall to clinic staff to complete. By identifying and applying for financial assistance support for patients, Shields has brought average copays for its diabetes patients to just $10, markedly reducing monthly pharmacy expenses for patients.

“Medication affordability is one of the biggest challenges patients with diabetes face,” says Bill McElnea, Vice President of Population Health at Shields, and a Type 1 diabetes patient. “We’re proud to offer a model that proactively addresses this pain point for patients in a meaningful way.”

Through its patient-centric approach to pharmacy care, Shields has also achieved significantly higher medication adherence rates than the national standard. By quickly turning around prior authorizations, arranging delivery of medications to a patient’s home within 48 hours, and following up with patients each month to arrange refills, Shields’ has achieved a 95% proportion of days covered medication adherence rate for its diabetes population, significantly higher than average adherence rates in diabetes.2,3 Shields success in medication adherence has also driven a 0.7 average reduction in HbA1c - a measure of a patient’s blood sugar levels over time – among its patient population.

“The important work done by the pharmacy liaisons facilitates patient adherence to their treatment plan,” says Samir Malkani, Clinical Chief of UMass Memorial Healthcare’s Diabetes and Endocrine Division. “They help patients navigate the complex issues surrounding medication costs which include researching affordable options, available rebates or coupons, and assistance with patient assistance programs. The liaisons also help with durable medical equipment (DME) prescriptions for our patients, which is a service not provided by other retail pharmacies.”

Shields plans to have diabetes programs running in 20 of its partner health systems by the end of 2022 and is also working on a diabetes coaching pilot that it believes will have a marked impact on key clinical outcomes, such as HbA1C, for high-risk diabetes patients.

“Given how significant diabetes is as a driver of health care expenditures, deploying high-touch pharmacy care to this population really is an area of considerable opportunity for health systems, both as a cost saving measure and a means to improve the quality of life for their patients,” says McElnea.

Click here to learn more about the Shields Diabetes Care program.

About Shields Health Solutions
At Shields, improving lives and elevating performance are at the heart of everything we do. That’s why more health system leaders trust Shields to help them elevate and scale clinical, operational and financial performance. Not just within specialty pharmacy, but throughout the entire health system. Working alongside your team, Shields leverages its proven collaborative care model; integrated care technologies; and dedicated teams to produce the superior outcomes your patients deserve and the financial results your health system demands. Together, we elevate performance where it matters most — expanding payer and drug access; improving therapy management and care coordination; delivering unsurpassed patient experiences; and generating the net operating income you need to accelerate growth. Learn more about how Shields elevates outcomes and performance at



Crystal Chuckel, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer


Crystal Chuckel, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer