The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the central role that the independent pharmacy plays in preserving the health of the local community. The vaccine rollout in the fight against COVID-19 has presented new opportunities for pharmacy owners and operators to solidify their place in the community as key players. One such opportunity is creating and implementing an immunization program — a vital service to the local community.
For your independent pharmacy, an immunization program presents several benefits. Along with positioning your pharmacy as a primary healthcare provider, an immunization program can be a profit center for both behind-the-counter and related over-the-counter sales. Additionally, an immunization program provides an excellent marketing opportunity for your business and can set you apart from competitors in your service area by allowing you to build relationships with patients and providers.
As a strategic partner, a pharmacy services administration organization (PSAO) can enhance the success of your community pharmacy’s immunization program in multiple ways. Some examples are:
Enabling Access to Managed Care Contracts
A PSAO holds contracts with various pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to facilitate reimbursement for vaccines and immunizations. This allows you as a pharmacy owner or operator enrolled with the PSAO to adjudicate vaccines through your pharmacy software system and PBM contracts, and in some cases, bill through the medical benefit.
Offering an Immunization Network
While some PBMs or health plans include vaccine reimbursement schedules in a contract, many offer specific vaccine contracts to pharmacies that are enrolled in an immunization program offered by a PSAO. An immunization network provides assurance to PBMs or health plans that a participating pharmacy has taken measures to ensure compliance with state requirements to administer vaccines and immunizations.
Providing Educational Resources
To add value and enhance the benefit of its programs and services, a PSAO can make educational resources on a wide range of topics available to participating pharmacies. Relevant topics you may want to know about are a) best practices for implementing an immunization program; b) state regulations and requirements to note; and c) how to procure and bill for vaccines and immunizations.
There are many reasons to consider implementing an immunization program at your pharmacy —positioning your pharmacy as a primary point of contact for vaccination needs; solidifying prescriber relations; and adopting an additional revenue stream.