Retail Pharmacy-Hospital Partnerships are Growing

ShopRite is planning to open a pharmacy inside the Doylestown Hospital on June 1, marking its first location inside a medical facility.

In addition to filling prescriptions, the pharmacy also will offer OTC medications. Patients treated in the medical office next to the hospital also can have their prescriptions filled before they leave the hospital grounds.

About 20 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of leaving, costing more than $15 billion annually.

To spur hospitals to reduce their readmissions rates, the Affordable Care Act lowers Medicare reimbursement levels for hospitals with high rates. One of the strategies that hospitals are developing is to partner with retail pharmacies in hopes of lowering readmissions rates.

The leader in retail pharmacy-hospital partnerships is Walgreens, which has developed a program called WellTransitions®, this program provides a comprehensive list of all active medications to hospital staff (to support medication reconciliation), a predischarge pharmacist review of the medication regimen to identify duplicative and unnecessary medications and to better align refill dates, bedside delivery of all newly prescribed medications before discharge, and inhospital and postdischarge telephone-based patient education and support from a pharmacist.

The program has allowed the hospital to identify and address multiple challenges facing at-risk patients after discharge, has contributed to a meaningful decline in readmissions among high-risk patients, and has generated high levels of patient satisfaction.

In partnership with Walgreens, a number of hospitals participate in WellTransitions including: Washington Adventist Hospital, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, and Marion General Hospital.

Palomar Medical Center, a 288-bed nonprofit hospital in Escondido, CA, opened a retail pharmacy with attached Starbucks in the fall. The pharmacy, Sav-on, is a partnership with Albertsons, a retail company based in Spokane, WA.