Though pharmacists are adept at managing chronic, complex patients, they are an expensive care team member to employ. While there is a stronger business case for employing pharmacists under value-based care, making the finances work in a fee-for-service environment can be challenging since many services aren’t billable. Rather than hire an in-house pharmacist to begin with, Summit decided to get their foot in the door by partnering with a local retail pharmacy.
Summit’s partnership with Walgreens
In 2008, Walgreens approached Summit and asked for the medial group’s permission to rent out space on their main campus and open up a retail pharmacy location. Neither Summit nor Walgreens had a financial stake in the arrangement but the partnership was a win-win for both organizations.
Summit’s main campus sees significant foot traffic, so opening a pharmacy at this location was beneficial for Walgreens which was now able to reach a larger population. At the same time, this partnership enabled Summit to expand access to pharmacy services for their patients, without hiring a pharmacist themselves.
Although the two organizations aren’t financially vested in each other, Summit works closely with Walgreens to make sure that they’re aligned around the organization’s value-based care goals. For example, Summit collaborates closely with Walgreens on their patient education campaigns and device counseling to ensure that they support the group’s larger utilization management strategy. Even though they now employ their own pharmacists in-house, Summit continues to work closely with Walgreens in this way.