LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Dec. 11, 2013) – Catholic Health Initiatives has joined Fairview Health Services and Intermountain Healthcare as investors in Excelera Corp., a national specialty pharmacy network based in Minneapolis. The three health systems all have committed resources, expertise and investment capital to support Excelera’s model of integrated care for patients who require specialty drugs.
KentuckyOne Health, part of the Catholic Health Initiatives community, will be a part of the new specialty pharmacy network with a location in Louisville at 5111 Commerce Crossing. Construction of the new pharmacy will be completed by March 1, 2014 and opened by July 1, 2014.
Excelera Corp., a network of specialty pharmacies based at health systems and academic medical centers, was formed in May 2012 to enable member organizations to gain access to limited-distribution drugs and provide continuity of care for patients with complex conditions who require specialty drugs.
“This partnership is designed to help us develop a national specialty drug network that is focused on better outcomes for our patients who so desperately need these medications,” said Kevin Lofton, president and chief executive officer of Englewood, Colo.-based Catholic Health Initiatives, one of the nation’s largest health systems. “The Excelera network gives our doctors access to a comprehensive, integrated network, including limited-distribution drugs, which enables them to manage the full spectrum of patient care.”
Specialty pharmaceuticals are expensive drugs that may require special handing and administration and are often used to treat the most ill and clinically complex patients.
We have already been doing many of these types of pharmacy services through our own Pharamcy Plus and University of Louisville outpatient pharmacy in Louisville,” said Mark Milburn, vice president, Oncology Service Line, KentuckyOneHealth. “Our patients will benefit from our expansion of services and access to medications. We serve a large population of patients with cancer, transplanted organs, HIV and other conditions that require expensive types of medications. With the specialty pharmacy as part of the patient’s care team, this integration will enable ongoing optimization of therapy and prevent interruption or delay in the initiation of their needed drug therapy.”
Most health plans now require patients to obtain specialty drugs from an outside specialty pharmacy that has no direct relationship with the patient. The health system does not have control as to when the patient initiates therapy and is not able to manage or monitor it. As a result, health systems and payers may incur higher medical costs, lower patient satisfaction and suboptimal health outcomes as care plans are not fulfilled as intended.
The Excelera network will negotiate on behalf of its member organizations to remove barriers to specialty drug access and monitoring. Patients and providers of health systems in the Excelera network will benefit by working with a specialty pharmacy that is a member of their care team who knows the patient’s care plan and can access specialty pharmaceuticals.