Kelly Kolker, President, 340B Solutions, CPS

Kelly Kolker

Q: Where did you grow up?

Born and raised in the great state of Iowa, and I still live here.  It is a fantastic place to raise a family.

Q: Where did you go to college/graduate school?

Clarke University for undergrad (Chemistry); The University of Iowa for Pharmacy School; University of Dubuque for MBA.

Q: What are your favorites?

Food:  Nothing beats a good midwestern steak, but I also very much enjoy fresh seafood when we vacation.

Movie:  Being from a family of Irish immigrants, I love the movie Brooklyn. And, I am a space junkie, so Apollo 13 and The Right Stuff rank right up there.

Musicians:  Any 80’s hairband, but I’m also a huge classical music fan.

Destination:  Siesta Key, on the Gulf Coast of Florida; hoping to live there permanently someday.  We also enjoy visiting and hiking in the National Parks, especially Glacier and The Grand Tetons.

Q: What do you like to do outside of work?

I enjoy traveling and attending the symphony and ballet.  Being married to the world’s greatest Chicago Cubs fan, I also enjoy following baseball and of course, my Iowa Hawkeyes football and basketball teams.  But my favorite pastime is visiting my older children and watching my high school and college age children’s sporting events and orchestra concerts.

Q: What kind of work does your company do in 340B and what makes it stand out?

The CPS 340B Solutions team provides consulting and services related to 340B program oversight and savings optimization. Our services include 340B program audits, our Continuous Readiness Program (CRP), which is a true partnership to assist in the oversight and management of our client’s programs, specialized services including assistance with opportunity assessment, implementation, internal oversight, and staff training.  We also offer program optimization services which include a fully managed referral capture program to compliantly capture the savings resulting from prescriptions of patients referred to outside specialists.

What makes CPS stand out? The extensive and varied backgrounds of our team members is what makes CPS 340B Solutions stand out.  All our consultants are A.C.E. pharmacists with considerable tenures as Directors of Pharmacy at covered entities with 340B program oversight responsibility.  Our analysts are all A.C.E., certified pharmacy technicians with backgrounds as 340B coordinators and managers, as well as 340B buyers and purchasing analysts.  CPS has worked with our partners in the 340B space since the Program’s inception in 1992 and have supported over 500 340B covered entities across all 50 states and Puerto Rico. CPS is the nation’s leading provider of pharmacy solutions.  Our 340B Solutions team is able to draw on the vast experience of the CPS team of industry experts, with an extensive background in all aspects of pharmacy operations, including pharmacy management, specialty pharmacy, and telepharmacy.  We are able to not only identify compliance issues and optimization opportunities within our partner’s programs, but we can also assist in operationalizing solutions to make your covered entity HRSA audit-ready and compliantly maximize your program savings.

Q: Why did you choose to work in the 340B space?

My first opportunities in the pharmacy world included working in roles, including as a director, in rural hospitals with 340B programs.  That led me to work for an alliance of independent hospitals across the Midwest helping them implement solutions to improve pharmacy operations and realize efficiencies.  One of the areas of greatest need was found in the 340B space which afforded us the opportunity to develop and implement services to assist rural entities that often lacked the resources necessary to oversee an effective and compliant program.

Q: What do you feel is your most significant contribution to the 340B world or to a 340B customer/client?

Helping covered entities protect the savings that they are realizing to meet the intent of the 340B Program is at the heart of everything we do.  Each time our clients undergo a HRSA audit with no findings, we see as a success story.  Personally, I see my most significant contribution to the 340B world as the assembly of the team of nationally recognized experts that we have in place today at CPS.  They are the key to the success of our partners’ 340B programs.  Protecting the savings resulting from 340B participation  allows our clients to continue to provide and expand on the health-care services offered to their communities.

Q: What advice do you have for a young professional who has recently launched a career in the 340B space?

Don’t be intimidated by the complexity and ever-changing landscape of the 340B world.  When you see a need in the 340B space don’t be afraid to educate yourself and step up to help fill that void.  If you focus on what you are helping hospitals and clinics achieve for their communities, it all becomes worth it.  And rely on the expertise of your peers as well.  340B weaves itself throughout many areas of not just pharmacy, but hospital and clinic operations, and having resources within all of these spaces becomes invaluable as you try to operationalize all of the components necessary to operate a successful 340B program.

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