Managing a hospital, clinic or specialty pharmacy grows more challenging with each passing day. Whether you are considering opening a new pharmacy or already operate one or multiple locations, existing and emerging complexities challenge daily pharmacy operations and financials.
Research conducted by Sage Growth Partners, a strategic healthcare-based marketing and research firm, reveals that community health centers (FQHCs) and hospital pharmacy leaders worry about scarcity and quality of labor, complex third-party payor contracting, and evolving compliance guidelines. Their concerns are rooted in the impact these issues have on patient access and outcomes, as well as profitability.
These concerns go above and beyond core pharmacy operations. Pharmacists and their staff face the unrealistic expectation to be highly knowledgeable about best practices for hiring and retaining employees, having the financial and contractual prowess to optimize drug purchasing and payor contracting, and even how to license and maintain accreditation in the complex regulatory world. However, collaborating with a pharmacy management partner that possesses a deep understanding of both broad and specific pharmacy management challenges can alleviate these issues and turn a pharmacy from a cost center into a profitable business unit that meets its patients’ needs and supports the mission of the organization.
No Refills: The Key to Hiring and Retaining Pharmacy Staff
Staffing challenges are mounting in the healthcare sector. Burnout and job dissatisfaction are leading many clinicians to leave the workforce, creating a talent void that is expected to result in a shortage of 3.2 million healthcare workers by 2026. The pharmacy sector is not immune. In the Sage Growth Partners survey, 53% of respondents identified workforce and training as the top challenge, with 82% placing it among their top three concerns.
The shortage of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can lead to multiple issues for pharmacies, such as poor customer service, mistakes filling prescriptions and slower growth.
For example, 42% of participants in the survey plan to open new pharmacies in the next 24 months. However, expansions could be slowed dramatically by staffing issues. Nearly 90% of independent retail pharmacies struggle to find technicians, according to a survey of independent pharmacy owners conducted by the National Community Pharmacists Association.
The problem doesn’t stop with clinical staff. Clinics and hospitals must retain pharmacy-specific IT support, as well as roles like recruiters, controllers, inventory specialists and payor contracting specialists. These roles carry costly salaries and can be time consuming and difficult to fill in today’s tight labor market.
The Antidote? End-to-end Pharmacy Solutions
A dedicated and specialized pharmacy management partner can alleviate all the burdens of pharmacy operations, including staffing and pharmacy-related expertise issues, and enable clinic and hospital staff to concentrate on core competencies like patient satisfaction and safety. For example, Maxor, a national pharmacy services provider, maintains dedicated talent acquisition experts who help recruit and retain hundreds of pharmacists and technicians each year. Additionally, they offer start-up financing to fund pharmacy build-outs, or working capital that can be directed toward staffing resources.
Finding talent is only half the battle. Retaining pharmacists and technicians can be even more difficult. However, providing technicians with career advancement and mentorship opportunities can make a huge difference when it comes to retaining staff and ensuring that staffing turnover doesn’t impact service and financial performance. Part of that effort includes Maxor’s Career Tech Ladder program, which is designed to help pharmacy technicians achieve their development goals and support their career aspirations by providing a series of jobs that prepare and provide the path for advancement. The career advancement path supports staff and has led to strong retention and skills development of the national pharmacy technician workforce by creating clarity, structure, and direction.
Partnering with a pharmacy management vendor accomplishes far more than alleviating staffing and human resources issues. For example, it can be very complicated to determine the financial viability of a new pharmacy site or even determining how to think about pharmacy location and build-out. However, management partners exist that can help evaluate the potential value of new or upgraded pharmacy locations, based on start-up and build-out costs, drug utilization mix, payor contrating rates, and the ability to capture more prescriptions out of your facilities.
It is critical to have a partner that focuses on bringing the right mix of shared resources support, such as HR, contracting and drug purchasing, with the local focus to ensure the pharmacy is a true, integrated partner in the healthcare team. At Maxor, we treat each client as a unique opportunity to best optimize and support their needs and ultimately their mission.
Select pharmacy management partners can also augment your valuable 340B administrative expertise by bringing a broader array of 340B services under a single umbrella, whether that is contract pharmacy administration, referral capture services or even 340B policies and procedures support.
Discover the Convenience of a National Partner
Oftentimes it is difficult to even begin to consider where to start when determining the value that a pharmacy can create and how it fits into your current infrastructure. Collaborating with a pharmacy management partner can help to create fully customized solutions that deliver clinical and financial benefits without the steep challenges that come with running an on-site pharmacy by yourself.
Utilizing a national partner like Maxor, with over 25 years of experience in pharmacy and specialty operations, can alleviate many of the pain points involved with building out and running the day-to-day operations of a successful pharmacy.
Maxor enables you to gain full financial transparency and eliminate vendor management complexity by offering a singular solution for your entire 340B ecosystem, covering pharmacy operations, 340B contract pharmacy, referral management, and even program administrative support. Visit maxorpm.com for more information on Maxor’s comprehensive solutions, including how Maxor can help you understand the value of pharmacy through its no obligation “Pharmacy Value Study.”
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Suzanne Hansen is the Executive Vice President of Pharmacy Operations at Maxor. She can be reached at email@example.com.