PCA Pharmacy, based in Louisville, Ky., has been serving the LTC community since 1994. The company has grown over the years, says Lance Miller, R.Ph., VP of operations, through organic growth, joint ventures, and acquisitions, to nine pharmacy locations and 525 employees that service about 32,000 patients in 13 states. They have used the SoftWriters system in one of the pharmacies since 2007 and have started transitioning more locations to the platform.
“It’s hard to be an independent pharmacy in today’s market, and so we look for partnerships in our markets that fit our culture and can provide us with an advantage. From our perspective, it’s an advantage to all of our long-term care customers to have insight into what they need and how we can help them. Due to our joint venture relationships, we gain the advantage of being able to do trial processes, see how they work, and then branch out into the marketplace with the new processes to assist our current customers and potentially attract other customers,” says Miller.
One example is the “Meds to Home” program, where the pharmacy follows patients after discharge from a facility to increase adherence. “We wanted to ensure patients were compliant by providing them with a 30-day supply of their medications when they discharge home,” says Miller. PCA developed processes around the logistics on the facility side, to have the information in a timely manner and get the meds to patients prior to them going home. They also have created a meds-to-beds program that provides a three-day supply of medications to the patient upon admission to the skilled nursing facility from the referring hospital partners. They partner with the hospitals to coordinate this process so the residents have what they need during their transition.
“It’s been beneficial for both sides,” says Miller. “In these times, the hospital partners are looking for ways to reduce the risk of recidivism and obtain additional revenue as well.”
Miller says SoftWriters offers efficiencies in both workflow and billing that led him to install Framework at a second location. A key reason is the ability for the PCA business analytics team to easily create dashboards to monitor key performance.
“Data is key going forward,” he says. “It’s going to help our pharmacies and our customers by providing information to run their businesses better. Framework’s SQL back end attracted us because we have immediate access to the information we need.”
The interface to EMR (electronic medical record) and electronic emergency kit systems keeps the pharmacy system current on medication orders and usage from the emergency kits. When the facility accesses the kits, the information is transferred directly to PCA pharmacies, and they can bill automatically as well as refill the medication as it is used. This ensures the facility doesn’t have to delay therapy for a patient because it doesn’t have a medication in stock.
The Framework dashboard also tracks where prescriptions are in the workflow at each step, from order entry to delivery. Miller says this lets the staff adjust in real time to be able to handle any problems, ensuring consistent delivery to the facility and building trust.
“It allows the facility to manage its workday better,” Miller says. “The nurses know when the delivery is arriving, and that allows them to spend their time on more important processes around patient care.”
As pharmacy moves to the forefront as potential vaccination sites, LTC pharmacies are looking into how to provide this service to their patients. Miller says that since many skilled nursing facilities have nurses on site who administer vaccines, PCA Pharmacy is looking at different scenarios, either with flu vaccines or a COVID-19 vaccine, of how they can assist with distribution and administration of these services and products.