Low reimbursements is an age-old topic. We know we sound like a broken record, it’s an issue about which many pharmacists are vocalizing their concerns.
We are inspired by pharmacists who proactively discover and implement practices that not only keep them in business but keep their patients healthy, too.
“If all you’re doing is watching the negative reimbursements and not doing anything about it, then you’re going backwards,” says Chris Cornelison of Iuka, Mississippi. Chris owns two pharmacies in Mississippi and enjoys serving friends and family he’s known all his life. However, to keep his stores running, he has had to brainstorm some creative solutions that benefit his pharmacies and patients. “I think in 2016, if you’re not the first behind your front end, you’re really missing the boat,” Chris says.
“I know in the past, all the profit was driven from the back end of the pharmacy. But now, I think three-fourths of the profit is driven from the front end of the pharmacy because you can still make good margins, but you’ve got to have good products out there that solve people’s problems.”
Chris found a problem with his patients’ health that needed solving. Although the prescriptions he filled kept his patients healthy, he noticed the side effects created new health problems. “For example,” Chris explains, “statins, as we all know, take CoQ10 out of the body. Well, that causes the side effect of body aches. But it can also cause your heart and mind to be unhealthy long term.” Chris created SolutionsRx, a line of supplements, to combat the negative side effects his patients experienced with nutrient depletion caused by their medications.
Of course, you can buy vitamins and supplements anywhere, but SolutionsRx is different. “There are lower-level supplements out there, but ours are not those. They have good manufacturing practices, they’re pharmaceutical-grade, and they are still in that $20-30 range.”
Chris’s process of offering the SolutionsRx to his patients is one he has coined as upsolutioning. “You identify the problem. You identify the best solution. You educate the patient. Then, you ask them if they want the solution. It’s that simple. We challenge our pharmacists to be always looking for the problem.” Chris knows his patients, and he is aware that his county has one of the lowest incomes in Mississippi. He understands that his patients may not be able to sacrifice extra funds for supplements, but that doesn’t stop from offering. When his patients decide to try SolutionsRx and tell him how much better they’re feeling when they return, Chris is motivated to keep going. “It’s a lot more rewarding than counting pills,” he says. “That makes all of this worthwhile.”
Although negative reimbursements are Chris’s biggest challenge, SolutionsRx has been his own personal remedy for profit loss. Within fourteen months, SolutionsRx has sold over 20,000 bottles to 231 pharmacies across the country. He expresses his excitement over his colleagues taking steps towards bettering their patients’ lives. “Being proactive, not always reactive, to healthcare is a big deal,” Chris says. Proactivity is just one tip he has for improving patient health. Check out his other suggestions:
Whether it’s supplements or jumpstarting a synchronization program, find a niche in your community that needs your expertise, keep your patients and your business healthy with creative, dual-purpose solutions.