Health System Specialty Pharmacy Accreditation Growing

Specialty pharmacies pursue accreditation to demonstrate value and consistency in delivery of quality clinical services in treatment of chronic, complex diseases. Overall, accreditation helps define the services, programs and capabilities that a specialty pharmacy has in place. It also verifies compliance with strict guidelines required by accrediting bodies.

AMI’s Specialty Pharmacy Database includes the accreditation status from four agencies: URAC, Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC), The Center for Pharmacy Practice Accreditation (CPPA), and the Joint Commission (JCAHO). The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) is now also being added.

Mirroring the current trend of hospital and health system specialty pharmacy growth, the following organizations recently were awarded accreditation:

  • Southern Ohio Medical Center in Portsmouth, OH, earned URAC accreditation in Specialty Pharmacy. This makes Southern Ohio Medical Center one of nine health systems in Ohio to earn URAC accreditation in Specialty Pharmacy. Other accredited health systems include the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, MetroHealth and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The pharmacy provides support to nearly 2,000 patients across seven specialties.
  • The ACHC designated Genesis FirstMed Pharmacy at GMC-East Rusholme Street as a specialty pharmacy. Genesis Specialty Pharmacy is the Quad Cities’ only locally owned specialty pharmacy.
  • Upstate’s Outpatient Pharmacy, part of Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, received specialty pharmacy accreditation from both URAC and the ACHC. Upstate’s Outpatient Pharmacy serves Upstate University Hospital patients and the public. The pharmacy’s new accreditations will allow it to obtain and dispense a series of specialty medications that only select pharmacies may handle. Those limited distribution medications include drugs to treat multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis and cancer, among others
  • Karmanos Specialty Pharmacy (KSP), part of the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, MI, received full accreditation from URAC. With this designation, KSP is able to continue with its provision of specialty oral oncolytic agents. Additionally, it allows for the provision of agents in other specialized areas, such as HIV, gastroenterology, neurology and many others. KSP will now be able to access various specialty medications, which were previously only available through external pharmacies. 


Takeaway: More than one in four specialty pharmacies are owned by hospitals and health systems, a trend that is continuing to grow as the facilities look for ways to improve patient care and increase revenue