This article is sponsored by OnePoint Patient Care. In this Voices interview, Hospice News sits down with Michael Porpora, President – Hospice Division, OnePoint Patient Care, to talk about the current state of hospice pharmacy, technology and staffing. He provides insight into the most pressing industry trends through the lens of a pharmacy and PBM provider, and he also talks about the steps providers can take to best navigate the current landscape.
Hospice News: What career experiences do you most draw from, in your role today?
Michael Porpora: During my first week at OnePoint, I had the opportunity to shadow a hospice nurse for a day, and it was an experience that I will never forget. I was able to experience firsthand the complexity she dealt with daily — from managing various symptoms in patients, to ordering medications and supplies, to working through emotional family dynamics in each home. Throughout her day, she drove from one patient to another, with her car essentially serving as a makeshift dining room for lunch and breakfast. I was amazed at how she was able to handle it all.
The experience taught me two things: First, the role of a hospice nurse is one of the most challenging jobs in any field. Second, at OnePoint Patient Care, we have the ability to make an impact by reducing the workload and stress of these wonderful nurses. Ensuring that nurses don’t have to spend excess amounts of time ordering medications or worrying about whether the medications will arrive on time is our goal and my personal aim. It’s fulfilling to be part of a solution that supports such crucial work.
As both a hospice pharmacy and PBM provider, what are the current trends you’re seeing in the industry?
First, there’s the unfortunate decline of local pharmacy providers, who are increasingly unable to continue supporting hospice care, leaving many hospices without a viable solution and scrambling to find medications for their patients. More and more we are seeing independent pharmacies turn away from hospice or outright close their businesses due to a variety factors, including increased regulatory pressures, and the rising costs of labor, delivery, and fuel — and all these challenges amid falling reimbursements.
Second, there’s a growing need for pharmacy-driven assistance in cost savings for overburdened hospices, which are grappling with staff shortages, surveys, expansion challenges and audits. They are seeking a PBM or pharmacy provider that can help them save costs and develop efficient medication management protocols for their teams. These are the two main issues that we’re observing.
What has OnePoint done to address these concerns?
We know that local, hospice-dedicated pharmacy is and will always be critical to delivering consistent, quality end-of-life care. Our company is committed to our mission of ensuring communities have a local and sustainable pharmacy dedicated to hospice. OnePoint is constantly enhancing the automation and technology in our pharmacies to best enable us to continue to offer our partners cost-effective medication dispensing and delivery services that are both sustainable and reliable.
Recognizing that hospices are often busy and understaffed, with a pressing need to save costs, we’ve introduced an exciting program called MyMetRx which will pinpoint cost-saving opportunities for every hospice. Think of the typical standard PBM reporting as a fitness gym, full of equipment. Those are great, but who has the time and where do you start in order to actually make an impact? MyMetRx is more like a personal trainer, guiding hospices to where they can save and working collaboratively to ensure that they see results. Our clinical pharmacists work directly with hospice leaders to identify and implement cost-reducing strategies, such as therapeutic substitutions. Working under goals set by hospice leadership, our team continuously reviews utilization data and provides bi-monthly, formatted reports to aid hospices in their Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) meetings and bolster performance.
Launched just over a year ago, MyMetRx has already helped some of our hospice partners save over 60% in targeted areas.
What’s on the horizon for OnePoint?
Technology definitely plays a crucial role in helping hospice clinicians and their patients, with EMR integrations being a key focus. Our application, OneConnectPoint, is designed to boost nurse efficiency, and we’re committed to enhancing it further. Currently, we’re excited to be developing a new AI clinical resource platform within OneConnectPoint. This AI tool contains a vast array of hospice clinical knowledge accumulated over decades by our clinical pharmacists, is designed to be extremely user-friendly and will be accessible to all OnePoint Patient Care partners and clinicians.
However, we recognize that technology by itself is not sufficient when it comes to providing truly quality and compassionate end-of-life care. We believe that the essence of quality patient care happens at the bedside, not solely through an app. OnePoint is dedicated to our local pharmacy model, and we will continue investing in and expanding to new pharmacies in markets that need our services the most. We are looking forward to what’s ahead.
What are the hospice industry’s greatest challenges and barriers to growth today?
We continue to hear hospices talk about the challenges of clinical staffing and retention, with nurses often overextended and sometimes inexperienced in the hospice space. OnePoint assists these hospice nurses and clinicians by streamlining the medication ordering process through our application OneConnectPoint, which is compatible with all major EMRs, offers complete e-prescribing, and includes delivery tracking, among other nurse-friendly features. This is how we contribute to easing the workload of hospice professionals.
What is your vision for the future of hospice care, and how will OnePoint fit into that vision?
As hospices adapt to value-based care, OnePoint’s distinctive and unique local pharmacy and PBM model will help providers improve care outcomes for patients with terminal illnesses. With independent pharmacies retreating from serving hospice due to reduced reimbursements and rising costs, OnePoint stands firm and remains reliable as a sustainable, long-term partner to hospice, committed to the timely and precise delivery of patient medications.
Finish this sentence: “In the hospice industry, 2023 has been defined by…”
…a focus on sustained quality growth.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
OnePoint Patient Care is the nation’s leading provider of community-based hospice pharmacy and pharmacy benefits management (PBM) services offering hospices nationwide flexible and adaptable solutions for their hospice pharmacy needs. Through its Concierge PBM, Next Day Valet mail order and Direct Express local services, OnePoint fills prescriptions, creates custom compounds and formularies, provides home deliveries and manages pharmacy benefits for hospice patients across the country.
Contact OnePoint: https://www.oppc.com/contact/
The Voices Series is a sponsored content program featuring leading executives discussing trends, topics and more shaping their industry in a question-and-answer format. For more information on Voices, please contact [email protected].