At this point, I know you are asking yourself the same question I had…
THIS SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE!!!
Q. Is it legal?
Firstly, Federal/State health plans (Medicare/Medicaid) clearly state that in-office pharmacy dispensing to be an exception to the Stark II laws and therefore can be an ancillary services provided by physicians to their patients.
Secondly, The Pennsylvania State Board of Pharmacy also legally allows the creation of physician in-office pharmacy.
Thirdly, the pharmacy benefit plans also allow your pharmacy to credential directly with them and dispense to their client members.
The business relationship your practice would create with us is also legal. We have consulted a leading, prestigious, national health care law firm in the Pennsylvania. One of our lawyers will be available to speak with your attorney to discuss all your questions and concerns.
Q. Is it profitable and are doctors already doing this?
A. YES but few profit.
I have been implementing this system in my own practice, and will gladly provide you with an analysis and confirmed by a legal leading medical accounting firm based in New York City. I will also happily invite you to my own practice where you can see the pharmacy in person.
Your own profit potential will be explained by our expert team. This is primarily based on insurance payor mix of your patients and a custom formulary for your patients. We will also work with you to help determine the optimal medications within any class of medication you wish to dispense. The goal is to have the pharmacy operate the way YOU WANT it to.
Q. Is there a significant amount of time and effort required to start, operate, maintain, and regulate your in-office pharmacy?
A. There are administrative responsibilities, billing and collections, knowledge of and compliance with all federal and state regulations, staff training, oversight patient eligibility for medications which is constantly changing real-time claims, adjudication to verity reimbursement, prescription record keeping required by the state and contracting with each and every pharmacy benefit managers and understanding frequent rule changes for each company.
With our knowledge, experience and service, we will be fully in control of the entire pharmacy operation from beginning to end, so that you will not be burden with any additional work and you can continue to focus on what you want – provide patient care.
Q. Will my staff have to count pills?
A. Medication is packaged in standard sizes and no pill counting is required. We do offer bulk dispensing if that is an option your practice would like to explore. Inventory purchasing and management is an easy process with the Integrity Dispensing web-based dispensing software system. The system allows users to track inventory in real-time. There are safety protocols in place to notify staff of inventory miscounts if the situation ever occurs, and the software holds each user accountable for variances in the system.
Q. Who can dispense or assist?
A. States vary on who can assist, but most states allow the doctors staff to assist under the supervision of the physician on site. Be sure to check your state regulations.
Q. How is billing handled?
A. Cash and Carry programs handle the transaction as a “cash sale.” No billing is required. If your office is participating in “Commercial Claims Adjudication” then your office would be doing the billing when you electronically transmit the claim.
Q. Can we E-Prescribe medication?
A. Our system does capture electronic prescriptions sent via EMR to our system saving time and effort.
Q. How long will it take to get medication?
A. Medication typically arrives between 4-7 days after an order.
Q. Will inventory take up a lot of space?
A. Depends on how much you order, but most medications can fit in a small locked cabinet .
Q. How are medications stored?
A. Most offices typically store their medication where they store their samples. To be compliant with DEA & FDA regulations, you will need a locked cabinet if you plan on carrying controlled medication. The locked cabinet must have a double lock on the cabinet or be in a room that is behind a locked door. Contact your state medical board or pharmacy board for more information specific to your state guidelines.
Q. What hardware is needed?
A. Our system only requires a computer with an internet connection, pharmacy paper, and a dedicated laser printer. Cabinets may also be required if stocking controlled medication.
Q. How much time will Physician Dispensing take?
A. Physician Dispensing can be a very simple and quick process. The process involves scanning the medication, printing a label and collecting payment. Every practice has a different process on how they dispense, but the basic mechanics of dispensing is pretty simple.
Q. How will Physician Dispensing benefit my patients?
A. Convenience is the main benefit to the patients. The last thing sick patients want to do is make an extra stop to a pharmacy when they are not feeling well. Patients will typically travel 10-20 minutes out of their way to a pharmacy, wait another 20 minutes to get their medication filled and possibly do some shopping while they wait.
Q. Are controlled meds reported to the proper agencies?
A. All scheduled medication is reported to the proper agencies if you operate in a state that requires prescription drug monitoring. Our program participates in the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and will report through batch reporting. There is nothing that the practice, providers or staff will have to do in order to report controlled substance dispensing.
The software automatically records all of your Schedule II or III drugs (narcotics) sales, taking the effort out of CURES reporting. With a few clicks you can compile an official CURES report ready to send in.
Q. How long can medication be stored?
A. Most medications that are prepackaged come with a year or longer shelf life.
Q. How much Inventory do I need?
A. Initially we recommend 1-3 months of medication on your first order. The goal is to only order medication that you will routinely prescribe on a consistent basis. You can always grow and expand your formulary in the future.
Q. Does the software print off labels?
A. The dispensing software program will print off all required labels to run your dispensing program as well as drug advisory leaflets.
Q. How is Physician Dispensing different than being a pharmacy?
A. Physician Dispensing only involves the doctor dispensing to his/her patients.