Pharmacists Key to Health System Savings – 3 Part Series

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Reducing costs in a health system is critical. I’ve often blogged about the need for hospitals to streamline their costs across all their departments. The central pharmacy is in a unique position to do this.

In a recent article in Pharmacy Practice News (PPN), “More Smart Savings From ASHP Meeting,” several pharmacists discussed their methods to reduce costs. Some of the methods include the out-patient pharmacy, reducing medication waste and improving inventory management. I’ll be blogging about these topics in a 3 part series. This post will focus on the out-patient pharmacy.

To reduce cost, the Medical University of South Carolina Transplant Center, in Charleston shifted the timing and location of antirejection drug infusions for kidney transplant patients. By shifting the times, the university reduced its cost of care by tens of thousands of dollars, while maximizing Medicare reimbursements. According to the PPN article:

The positive effect that site of care can have on finances been demonstrated in an initiative at the Medical University of South Carolina Transplant Center, in Charleston. By shifting the timing and location of antirejection drug infusions for kidney transplant patients, the university reduced its cost of care by tens of thousands of dollars, while maximizing Medicare reimbursements.

The researchers found that shifting day-of-discharge dosing to the outpatient setting resulted in per-patient cost savings of $860 per day and a mean per-patient revenue increase of $1,856—a total gain of $2,716 per patient. The new protocol also resulted in shorter hospitalization (3.1 vs. 3.9 days; P<0.001), which translated to an estimated savings of $57,800. The total net margin increase over the 18-month study period was $230,867.

Having the out-patient pharmacy prescribe discharged patients their medications at specific times can dramatically improve patient compliance, while increasing the hospital’s revenue. In addition, the hospital was able to leverage and maximize Medicare reimbursements that were already available to them.

Is your pharmacy playing a key role in reducing your hospital’s costs? Are you maximizing your Medicare reimbursements? How are you deciding which cost saving method works best for your hospital?

Further Reading:
Pharmacists Key to Health System Savings – Part 2
Pharmacists Key to Health System Savings – Part 3

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