Notes from Joe, October 2021

Notes from Joe

You Never Know!
by Joe Pugliese

Way back in 2009, we were trying to get a national payer to contract with all Alliance members (a grand total of about 35 members back then). We were also told by this payer that it was too much trouble to contract with multiple entities. They suggested we go get a national pharmacy to be a point of contracting. I am reasonably certain they did not think we would actually get one.

The Alliance Pharmacy (TAP) was created in 2010, it was and is a 503c organization, licensed in all 50 states as a pharmacy. The Board of Directors of TAP is made up of healthcare professionals from member HTCs and staff from the Alliance. They oversee all aspects of the organization. You will be hearing more about TAP in the coming months. I am convinced that, among other things, we need to lower administrative costs and TAP is part of achieving that goal. I thought today it would be great to share a very recent story about TAPs operational excellence and commitment to patient care. The note below is written by Angela Kellum, PharmD Pharmacy Manager, Tulane University Health Sciences Pharmacy, Louisiana Center for Bleeding and Clotting Disorders.

“Hurricane Ida hit the New Orleans and surrounding area on August 29, 2021. The effects were devastating. Much of the bayou country and the Louisiana coast was flooded. Wind and tree damage was extensive. Some of our staff and many of our patients lost their homes, their cars, and most or all of their belongings. The entire New Orleans area was out of power and many without internet, cable, or cell service for weeks. This included downtown New Orleans where our in-house 340B pharmacy is located and Tulane University was closed for 3 weeks. Although our building was closed, our pharmacy was still open.

The Tulane University Health Sciences Pharmacy, the in-house 340B pharmacy for the Louisiana Center for Bleeding & Clotting Disorders has 2 contract pharmacies in place for emergency dispensations: The Alliance Pharmacy (TAP) and Gulf States Pharmacy (GSP). We were extremely busy that first week after the storm sending to our contract pharmacies both prescriptions and large lists of replacement infusion supplies. We had patients who did not evacuate with any medications or supplies, or they did not take enough. Some patients returned home and had lost their medications due to either flooding or the lack of electricity needed to maintain proper storage. We had patients who needed extra doses of clotting factor as they were busy cleaning tree limbs and debris from their yards and repairing their damaged homes. Other patients needed their usual refills.

After orders left the contract pharmacies, there were extended shipping delays and challenges, especially delivering to those patients in storm devastated areas. TAP and GSP spent a great deal of time arranging alternate delivery locations to patients, tracking packages and resolving shipping issues. TAP used an add-on FedEx service called “Priority Alert” for at risk shipments during this time. Having this service allowed for TAP to more easily track and manage their shipments and likely avoided extended delivery delays and losses. For example, by TAP’s use of this service they were able to easily re-route a delayed shipment back to their pharmacy for proper storage over a weekend. Our pharmacy is now on a wait list to have this service added to our account.

Hurricane Ida was not the first time we had used TAP as a contract pharmacy. As they are licensed in all 50 states, they took over the dispensation for a patient of ours who moved to Alabama, a state where our pharmacy is not licensed. I appreciate how they communicate with us throughout the dispensing process and send all the needed paperwork for our records to be audit ready.

The pharmacists and technicians at TAP and GSP were absolutely amazing—from the first day after the storm hit, until our pharmacy could reliably provide medications to our patients ourselves. They were not only professional, but also patient, kind, and accommodating to our HTC staff and to our patients, down to every last detail. A heartfelt thank you to them for helping us care for our patients!”

We did not know in 2009 that TAP would grow into such a valuable resource for the bleeding disorders community. You will be hearing more about TAP in the coming months. The next thing you will likely hear is they will be running the much-needed DDAVP NS challenge program in 2022 as a service to the community.

Also in this Issue…

Legal Update
· Rebates Under the Uniform Grants Guidance: No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

Alliance Board Update
· Alliance Seeking Board Nominations

Alliance Update
· 2022 Spring Meeting Schedule
· New Member Maps

Notes from the Community

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