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UHC to Launch New Specialty Pharmacy Program for Better Continuity of Patient Care, Improved Access to Specialty Pharmaceuticals
Date:9/9/2013

CHICAGO, Sept. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Increasing at a rate of more than 20% per year, specialty pharmacy is one of the fastest-growing segments of health care. But hospitals that need specialty pharmaceuticals to perform procedures or treat patients fill less than 1 in 5 of those prescriptions. As a result, the majority of patients must fill their specialty prescriptions elsewhere, including mail-order pharmacies, which are not always convenient for patients and can take patients' care out of the hands of their caregivers.

UHC, an alliance of the nation's leading nonprofit academic medical centers, is unveiling a new specialty pharmacy program in late 2013/early 2014 to provide patients with access to the specialty medications they need at the hospitals where they are treated.

"The UHC specialty pharmacy program will help member hospitals and health systems succeed in an accountable care organization environment in which continuity of care must be available," said Jake Groenewold, UHC senior vice president, Supply Chain. "A patient's health care team must coordinate care and services among inpatient settings, outpatient settings, infusion clinics, and pharmacies."

In a real-life example of how this program will improve continuity of care for the patient, a member hospital worked with a patient whose copayment for a specialty medication had more than tripled. As the patient applied for assistance through the pharmaceutical company, the patient's specialty pharmacy withheld her prescription. Her physician worked with the hospital pharmacist to assist the patient and found a lower-cost generic specialty medication with an affordable copayment that the hospital could fill. The patient missed only 1 day of her prescribed follow-up medication, minimizing the potential for worsening symptoms and avoiding hospitalization. Without a specialty pharmacy program in place, the hospital may not have
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