Alliance of hospital-owned specialty pharmacies issues industry call to action

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The Health System Owned Specialty Pharmacy Alliance, or HOSP — an organization formed in October by seven health systems to advocate for health system-owned specialty pharmacies — recently sent an open letter to health systems outlining three actions items it wants the specialty pharmacy industry to take to improve patient care and outcomes. 

The first is to develop industry benchmarks. 

"We typically haven't done a good job as an industry of publicizing the data that showcases our successes that distinguish us from other specialty pharmacies," Tanya Menchi, the alliance's executive director, said in an interview with Becker's

Ms. Menchi said the health system-owned specialty pharmacy industry needs to establish metrics to demonstrate the industry's value and measure performance to develop industry best practices. 

The second action item is to support patients' choice of care and open access to specialty medications. 

"Interfering with a patient's choice of specialty pharmacy provider or access to the drugs prescribed by their doctor results in fragmented care," the alliance wrote in its letter. 

Specialty pharmacies should alleviate barriers to accessing specialty medications for their patients, the organization said. 

The third action item is to prioritize health equity. Research has shown that Black and Hispanic Americans are twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 aswhite Americans, the alliance said in its letter. 

"This demonstration of disparity and health inequity is simply unacceptable and must be addressed with data and action," the alliance stated. 

Ms. Menchi said specialty pharmacies help to alleviate health inequities because they are in a better position to serve patients than retail pharmacies, as they are closer to the patient and have more experience serving uninsured or underinsured populations. 

"There's a tremendous focus on the patient being the center of all of our activity. It's not just about handing a vial or injection to someone, it's all about the total care," Gary Kerr, chief pharmacy officer of Baystate Health in Springfield, Mass., and chairman of the alliance's board of directors told Becker's

The alliance said it is developing action-oriented recommendations for the health system-owned specialty pharmacy industry to take to improve health equity, which it plans to release by the end of year. 

Read the full letter here

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