Optum Hospice Pharmacy Services is collaborating with Genoa Healthcare to establish pharmacies specializing in hospice care in 47 states, designed to improve local access to medications and facilitate speedier delivery for hospice providers and patients.
Optum—which is owned by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) —will bring its hospice-centric pharmacy services to Genoa’s pharmacy network of 450 locations.
Genoa Healthcare is the fifth-largest pharmacy chain in the United States, primarily serving the Medicare and Medicaid patient population. The company’s pharmacies are oriented towards serving behavioral health care patients who share some qualities with hospice patients, such as complex medication regimens, need for 24/7 access to medications, and difficulties with transportation.
“To best support the pharmacy needs of hospice patients with complex health conditions, Optum and Genoa Healthcare pharmacies will together provide improved local access to same day service and delivery, a major challenge in hospice today,” said Jason Kimbrel, PharmD, BCPS, vice president of Optum Hospice Pharmacy Services. “In partnering with Genoa Healthcare, Optum is better equipped to support its growing base of hospice providers while leveraging enhanced connections to Genoa’s network of pharmacies, ultimately providing the best level of service that is paramount in supporting both hospice providers and their patients.”
The collaboration will retain drug discounts currently available from both companies, as well as local dispensing, same-day delivery, and pharmacist consultation services.
Studies show that pharmacists who specialize in hospice and palliative care are well equipped for handling issues that occur within that patient population, such as the need for dosage conversions for pain management or compounding medications for nonstandard doses. Research also indicates that pharmacists with a hospice or palliative care specialty effectively navigate complex regulations for opioid prescribing, reducing delays in dispensing those medications.