Philadelphia-based Enclara Pharmacia recently expanded its Neighborhood Connections network with eight new pharmacy members in the key Miami and Jacksonville, Fla., markets. The names of those pharmacies are undisclosed.
Enclara launched the Neighborhood ConnectionsTM Plus program launched last year, which builds on an actively managed group of more than 7,000 retail and institutional pharmacies working to reduce barriers to hospice medication access. Participating pharmacies must stock medications commonly used in hospice (and otherwise rarely prescribed outside of hospitals) in order to be included in the Neighborhood Connections network. Additionally, they must also demonstrate awareness of dispensing regulations specific to terminally ill patients.
Enclara sees the move as a way to increase care coordination between hospice providers and pharmacies, according to Enclara Chief Commercial Officer Scott Quality.
“Our integration with affiliated pharmacies is a way to provide an even more seamless service to our hospice partners, particularly when it comes to courier delivery options,” said Quality. “Whether they utilize our mail order service or rely mostly on local pharmacies, we have the ability to integrate our technology and logistics expertise to provide the best possible experience to hospice nurses and their patients.”
Enclara Pharmacia is a pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) and distributor of medications and clinical services specifically for the hospice and palliative care industries. Enclara’s business is focused primarily on hospice, providing mail-order drugs, enhanced mobile medication management with electronic medical record connectivity designed to reduce necessary data entry and simplify clinical workflows.
PBMs take on several tasks associated with medication management and delivery to help build efficiencies.
Medications are a hefty expense for hospices, with providers largely dependent on capitated per diem payments from Medicare. Without the ability to increase the amount of their income per patient, hospice must rely on creating efficiencies and effective cost management to raise their margins.
Enclara serves more than 400 hospice providers and 97,000 patients nationwide through a home delivery model that aims to reduce pharmacy costs and increase patient access to medications. Insurance giant Humana (NYSE: HUM) acquired Enclara Healthcare for an undisclosed amount in a deal that closed in 2020. The transaction included the pharmacy company’s subsidiaries Enclara Pharmacia, Avanti Health Care Services and GuidantRx.
The eight affiliations occurred in key markets with booming senior populations that will likely fuel rising demand for hospice care. Adults 65 and older make up 16.7% of Miami’s population and 13.4% of Jacksonville residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Hospice utilization runs high in Florida, reaching a rate of 57.9% of Medicare decedents during 2018, the fourth highest rate in the country, according to the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization. Only Utah (60.5%), Delaware (59.4%) and Arizona (58.8%) saw higher utilization.
In addition to the Jacksonville and Miami areas, markets served by the Neighborhood Connections program include the Las Vegas, Kansas City and San Antonio metropolitan areas, as well as parts of South Carolina and North Carolina and the New York City area served by Enclara subsidiary Avanti Health.