Q: Where did you grow up?
Growing up, I was a bit backwards and spent my winters in Minnesota and my summers in Florida. In adulthood, though, I realized that was silly and flipped the script – now I spend winters in Florida and summers in Minnesota!
Q: Where did you go to college?
I went to Saint Cloud State University and majored in chemistry and math.
Q: What are your favorites?
Food: I could survive the rest of my life on tacos, and I’m currently obsessed with Elote (Mexican street corn).
Movie: I enjoy a good documentary or docudrama, a couple I’ve recently watched are Dopesick and Inventing Anna.
Musicians: I’m really into music, it speaks to me on so many levels. I have an extensive vinyl record collection that spans from the 1980s to today. Some of my favorite musicians I have on repeat include Morgan Wallen, Foreigner, and Taylor Swift (her concert this summer was amazing!).
Destination: I really enjoy traveling and seeing everything this country has to offer! One of my brothers currently lives in Anchorage, and we have spent every vacation we possibly can up there over the past couple years. Alaska is beautiful, and I would go there a million times if I could.
Q: What do you like to do outside of work?
Outside of work, I love to spend time with my children; I have an 8-year-old and a 5-year-old. They’re homeschooled, so there are a lot of activities that I get to help coordinate and participate in during my off hours. My biggest hobby and passion right now is DIY home renovation. I enjoy building things, figuring out how various power tools work, you name it. I’ve previously added custom built-ins to my Minnesota home office, and my current projects are building a Murphy bed and a library in our Florida home.
Q: What kind of work does your company do in 340B and what makes it stand out?
At CPS, we have solutions that can support 340B programs of any shape or size, from small hospital programs to more complex health systems or grantees. We strategically collaborate with covered entities to accelerate revenue, support significant savings growth, and drive transformative results. But the thing that I’m most proud of? We have such a diverse background of people who work on our team. We have over 150 years of combined industry tenure, so we’ve seen it all, which allows us to create a custom game plan for your program: audit readiness, referral capture, even remote monitoring if you’re short staffed. We’ve got you covered when it comes to 340B ESP support that enables you to recoup lost savings from manufacturer restrictions, any HRSA audit findings, manufacturer paybacks, coverage for staff on leave, and training for new 340B team members. With our expertise, CPS can come up with a tailored solution to fit your facility’s 340B needs.
Q: Why did you choose to work in the 340B space?
I’ve always been interested in puzzles, and love being presented with problems and working to find a solution. For example, I didn’t have any funding available to me for my college education, but I still worked hard to graduate without any debt, which made a big difference in my life. That problem-solving attitude has transcended into my professional career. When I worked in a pharmacy, I was challenged to save more on our margins and bring in more revenue to the program. I was given an opportunity to really revamp a 340B program that was not optimized and found a way to make the puzzle pieces fit together. We worked to enhance the program to meet our needs and fund programs and services that reach underserved populations. After that first success, I eventually found my way to CPS where I’m able to do that on a bigger scale and help more covered entities do the same, which is a perfect fit for me. I am passionate about my role and dedicated to making this program work for our clients and their individual needs.
Q: What do you feel is your most significant contribution to the 340B world or to a 340B customer/client?
My biggest contribution is finding an effective way for people to reach their end goal. I’ve had clients who wanted to start with referral capture, but they faced challenge after challenge: issues with provider documentation, difficulties with 340B registration, even IT challenges. All these barriers prevent clients from seeing the full picture, and I enjoy the opportunity to help them overcome their hurdles. I have previously worked with a client who wasn’t utilizing 340B in a mixed-use space because it was too expensive for them to implement a split billing software. They didn’t think they could reach a threshold where the software’s cost would be offset by program savings. However, I worked with them and found a way around that by creating a solution and process they could easily implement, monitor, and maintain. That solution has netted them over $300,000 in savings in the last year alone.
Q: What advice do you have for a young professional who has recently launched a career in the 340B space?
Always be curious and be amenable to new opportunities. Make sure you understand there is no one-size-fits-all solution in 340B, it’s very entity and program-specific. You need to be able to think outside the box and learn the tools that can help you do that, such as proficiency in tools like Excel and data manipulation. Thankfully, there are many industry resources out there – webinars, podcasts, tools, etc. – that can help you brush up on the current state of things (like 340B Report). I encourage young professionals to be curious and absorb all the knowledge that you possibly can – because that’s what will help you further your career.
For questions, Heather can be reached at Heather.Erickson@cps.com.