Retail News Breaks Archives
Health Mart has 'unique proposition,' president says
August 5th, 2013
SAN FRANCISCO – Steve Courtman, president of Health Mart, the 3,126-store pharmacy franchise run by McKesson Corp., is confident the retailer has what it takes to flourish in an environment where the rules that have long governed health care delivery are in the process of being rewritten.
“Because Health Mart combines the best of a chain and an independent pharmacy, we have a unique proposition as we go out to the marketplace,” says Courtman, who was named Health Mart president last fall.
“Our pharmacists are very passionate, caring individuals who have always seen their customer as being the patient in the store,” he comments. “When you look at the things that Health Mart pharmacists do extremely well, they have those personal, long-term relationships with patients that result in better care.”
The franchise’s philosophy puts it in sync with — if not a step ahead of — the broader evolution of pharmacy practice, which is seeing members of the profession move beyond the traditional function of filling prescriptions toward greater involvement in helping patients manage their health, the proliferation of such services as immunizations and routine diagnostic testing, and more interaction with other health care providers.
“Because we have a fantastic service component, we find physicians want to send their patients to Health Mart. They know that our pharmacists will take the time with patients to really help them understand their health and wellness options,” notes Courtman. “As clinical outcomes become more important — with things like Star ratings, value-based reimbursement and adherence metrics moving to the forefront — you must have that relationship with patients in order to be successful. That dynamic plays to Health Mart’s strengths.”
Implementation of the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in January will accelerate that transformation.
“The ACA is both an opportunity and a challenge for us,” Courtman says. “Historically, community pharmacy has been all about prescription drug costs. By really putting a much greater emphasis on care, the ACA will move the industry toward payment for patient outcomes. From our standpoint, that’s fantastic.
“The shift creates the need for community pharmacies to demonstrate to payers that they maintain a high level of service and can prove that they can deliver against those adherence and clinical care metrics. We welcome the chance to show what Health Mart can do.”
Courtman’s experience and expertise will be beneficial in that regard. Immediately before joining Health Mart, Courtman spent 12 years as senior vice president of retail markets at Medco Health Solutions. In that role he was responsible for contracting with chain and independent pharmacies, and building pharmacy networks to deliver value to payers.
McKesson’s diverse capabilities, which extend from its core drug distribution business to health care technology and award-winning pharmacy-based adherence programs, comprise another potent resource for Health Mart members.
“We’re looking to give Health Mart members the flexibility they need to be innovative in running their pharmacy in their own way,” says Courtman. “We’re able to bring our scale to bear in terms of developing solutions so our pharmacies are able to run their business more efficiently.
“We provide a large suite of products that facilitate the operational aspects of pharmacy, enabling members to concentrate on customer service and how to capitalize on the new revenue-generating opportunities that are emerging.”
Health Mart unveiled a number of initiatives at the McKesson ideaShare show in June. Among the new programs are a local marketing support plan designed to help franchisees attract and retain patients, a mobile app that connects with the Your Pharmacy Online consumer website, tools to help members of the franchise raise medication adherence through behavioral coaching and be remunerated for those efforts, and an updated store design.
“We already have a number of items in place that can help Health Mart cope with the changes that are occurring,” Courtman notes. “Going forward, all of our products and services will have some component that touches the delivery of care. For instance, when we talk about our digital tools and local marketing support, that’s really a platform for our members to deliver content, and that content will be heavily weighted toward helping both pharmacists and patients in the delivery of care.”