Mar
27
2018

Specialty Pharmacy expands and receives new accreditations a year after opening

Texas Children’s Specialty Pharmacy program has received accreditation from the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC) and Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC). This accreditation helps the Specialty Pharmacy position itself and demonstrate its value in delivering specialized clinical services.

“This is a remarkable accomplishment and will allow us the opportunity to gain access to care for patients with commercial payers,” said Jeff Wagner, Director of Pharmacy.

Texas Children’s Specialty Pharmacy opened in September of 2016, and was established to handle convenient plan of care management, and other services specific to patients with serious illnesses.

The pharmacy is an outpatient service, available to any eligible patients at Texas Children’s Main Campus and West Campus. More specifically, to patients and international patients who are seen by Texas Children’s providers and who have Medicaid/Medicare, TCH Health Plan, and CHIP as their health plan. It allows families to fill their specialty medications (and other retail medications) at the hospital, through free mail delivery, or in-person pick-up which is solely located at the Mark Wallace Tower Outpatient Pharmacy.

“Many of the patients in our care face challenges in medication access in the community,” said Wagner. “Ultimately, we are ideally positioned to address this gap in access and care with the Specialty Pharmacy.”

To differentiate from other pharmacies, there are Specialty Pharmacists embedded within Texas Children’s Hospital outpatient clinics to counsel patients taking specialty medications. They also provide ongoing monitoring of their specialty therapy and coordinate pharmacotherapy needs with physician/clinic teams. There is also a call center that provides proactive refill management for specialty pharmacy patients.

Recently the pharmacy staff created a patient satisfaction survey that resulted in positive data that reaffirms how the Specialty Pharmacy continues to be efficient and accessible, all while meeting patient needs in the most effective way possible.

“I love having the medications delivered to our home,” said one survey participant. “It just makes things simpler when I forget to pick my meds up or just can’t go get them.”

Along with productivity and being able to provide the necessary medications, patients also expressed the high level of professionalism and customer service that comes from the staff throughout the department.

“I have a great team of passionate people who strive to provide the best care possible for our patients! They are a joy to work with on a daily basis, said Stephen Davis, Specialty Pharmacy Manager. “They challenge and inspire me at the same time. I provide support, guidance, and leadership to my team. I empower them to make informed decisions and assist them with troubleshooting and problem-solving.”

Texas Children’s Specialty Pharmacy has expanded into almost a dozen clinics since it opened and has positively impacted hundreds of patients in that short time.

“The Specialty Pharmacy has supported Texas Children’s Hospital’s mission, and the impact this service has had over 1,000 patients is breathtaking,” said Wagner. “The engagement of families in the planning of these services, and the feedback we have received to date has been absolutely remarkable.”

The accreditation covers all clinics supported by Texas Children’s Specialty Pharmacy and is a major ingredient in its success moving forward. The pharmacy will have to be reaccredited again in another three years.

“Accreditation will help in our ability to offer this service to all patients of Texas Children’s Hospital, and even beyond,” Wagner said. “The ultimate goal is to be able to offer Specialty Pharmacy Services for all patients, regardless of payer.”

As of 2018, the pharmacy has currently rolled out into the following 11 clinics within Main Campus:

Dermatology
Endocrine
Gastroenterology
Hematology
Neurology
Oncology
Prader-Willi
Pulmonary
Renal
Rheumatology
Transplant

As well as the following four clinics within West Campus:

Cancer Center
Endocrine
Gastroenterology
Rheumatology

In 2018, Texas Children’s Specialty Pharmacy will expand services to include the Complex Care clinic and the Allergy and Immunology clinic. Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands will receive specialty pharmacy services during the summer of 2018. The Specialty Pharmacy is currently working towards acquiring additional contracts in order to serve more patients with commercial insurance.

“In order to ensure that Texas Children’s Specialty Pharmacy is able to continue to serve our patients, we are actively working towards acquiring additional space in order to support the anticipated growth,” said Davis. “In the future, I envision Texas Children’s Specialty Pharmacy providing mail-order service to all patients within the state of Texas and outside the state of Texas.”