Magazine article Drug Topics

Give and Take

Magazine article Drug Topics

Give and Take

Article excerpt

Marvin Richardson was doing quite nicely as a long-term pharmacy provider serving 850 beds at the end of last year. Then he decided he could do better, so he analyzed his Indianapolis-based business and devised a new plan o attack. Nine months later, he had tripled his bed count and carved out new niches.

The key for independent pharmacy providers trying to swim in waters infested by big corporate sharks is planning, Richardson told attendees at the recent NARD annual meeting in Boston. That planning process requires digging out answers to a whole raft of nitty-gritty questions: What types of facilities do you want to serve? What services will you offer them? How do you put together a marketing plan? How do you implement it? What's it going to cost you?

The answers Richardson found included revenue-sharing programs with the 16 facilities he serves. "I'm convinced the market is not just for the corporate giants," he said. "There's room for independents to compete very effectively. But it's not enough to provide medication services. You have to partner with the facility."

One way Richardson has found to forge those partnerships is by paying the facility to bill private-pay patients or his pharmacy services. He figures it's worth the 8% it costs him to get paid in 30 days instead of waiting 60 to 90 days for a check from the patient.

"It's win, win, win," Richardson said. "The patient writes one check, the facility gets a billing fee, and we win because there are no outstanding balances past 30 days. But you can't raise the price of your prescriptions. We give up 8% for getting paid in a timely manner. …

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