Q: Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Mt. Iron, a small town located in the Iron Range of northern Minnesota. I was raised as a country girl on a lake across the road from a farm, and I loved winter with ice skating and sledding. In high school, my family made the seven-mile move to the big city of Virginia, Minnesota.
Q: What are your favorites?
Food: Seafood, especially lobster and shrimp
Movie: I like classic chick flicks (like Dirty Dancing, Grease, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days)
Musicians: I’m a die-hard rock and roll fan
Destination: Somewhere warm with plenty of sunshine and water, which is why I moved to southwest Florida
Q: What do you like to do outside of work?
When I’m not working, I spend most of my time golfing or boating with my husband. Now that I live in sunny Florida, you are highly likely to find me outside listening to live music.
Q: What kind of work does your company do in 340B and what makes it stand out?
Avita Care Solutions is a national health care services organization committed to promoting health equities by providing comprehensive, compassionate, and inclusive health care and pharmacy services to underserved communities. Avita’s community care management strategy enables patients and covered entities to remove barriers across the care continuum by offering pharmacy services (Avita Pharmacy), 340B program administration, digital health (Q Care Plus), and delivery of clinical care (Q Care Plus and AvitaCare Atlanta) for more than 180,000 patients through over 400 pharmacy services agreements with covered entity partners at 60+ locations nationwide.
The result is a unique turnkey business model that serves as an irreplaceable “connector” for our patients, covered entities, and providers. Our integrated care offering empowers our partners to improve patients’ medical adherence, increase patient retention, and ultimately enhance clinical outcomes.
Q: Why did you choose to work in the 340B space?
I’ve been working in pharmacy my entire career—the 340B space found me. I was a pharmacy operations manager at a large academic medical center that became 340B eligible. They needed someone to run the program, so I volunteered. That was 20 years ago, and I’ve been working in 340B ever since, including 340B operations, auditing, and now contract pharmacy.
Q: What do you feel is your most significant contribution to the 340B world or to a 340B customer/client?
Sharing my knowledge with others has allowed me to build relationships and connect with my clients and colleagues. I’ve provided others with the tools and information they need to make informed decisions, solve problems, and navigate challenges. This in turn has helped me deepen my own understanding of 340B.
Q: What advice do you have for a young professional who has recently launched a career in the 340B space?
Stay informed! There are many resources available to 340B professionals. Seek them out and take advantage of every opportunity you can. Many of the courses offered through Apexus are free of charge. 340B University is a must for all 340B professionals. I found that earning my 340B ACE was extremely beneficial. Personally, I set goals to 1) spend at least one hour a day reading the most recent articles on 340B, pharmacy, and general health care and 2) attend at least two 340B webinars per month.
Q: What’s the biggest 340B compliance mistake you see newly formed covered entities making?
In my many years of auditing, I’ve seen many new entities assume that their outside vendors are managing their 340B program. While outside vendors can add worth and provide invaluable insights, it is ultimately the entity’s responsibility to ensure that their 340B program is compliant with the 340B rules and regulations. Entities should establish robust internal auditing programs that identify 340B liabilities and proactively correct them. Individuals in the organization should be committed to the work they’re doing to ensure the best possible outcomes for the program.
Cheryl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org