Since their groundbreaking work with MTM in the 1990s, pharmacists in Iowa have consistently been national leaders in innovating pharmacy practice. This trend continues as Iowa pharmacists were some of the first to investigate the creation of their own CPESNSM network.
When asked about the secret to their success, CPESN luminary Matt Osterhaus, BSPharm, shared, “It’s been teamwork that has allowed us to be successful. The Iowa Pharmacy Association (IPA), the Iowa Board of Pharmacy, both schools of pharmacy in Iowa, and our pharmacists who have consistently held a common vision, ‘If it is good for the patient, it is good for pharmacy’ and that alignment of thought has been beneficial in moving the profession forward
The groundwork for the Iowa CPESN started back in November 2015. The leaders in Iowa believed Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) were continuing to develop and they needed a vehicle for community pharmacists to do business with them.
“We knew that ACOs wouldn’t want to work with 30 or 40 individual community pharmacies,” stated Osterhaus, who owns Osterhaus Pharmacy in Maquoketa, Iowa. “So, we wanted – and needed – to band together.”
Around that time, Troy Trygstad shared the story of Community Care of North Carolina during a presentation to the Board of Trustees for the Iowa Pharmacists Association. The pharmacy leaders in Iowa knew if they could provide consistent, quality care to their patients across the entire state, they could be a survivor in a bifurcated pharmacy marketplace.
The Iowa CPESN has a lot going on! They are in the process of forming a legal entity as well as building the infrastructure necessary to be successful. They’ve also secured some network funding through a grant from the IPA Foundation. They are now in the process of conducting site visits with all network members to assure the level of care is consistent. Best of all, they are finalizing a payer agreement that will benefit the entire network.
“During our conversations with a regional payer, they said they were ‘looking for new solutions to age old problems’ and we felt CPESN Iowa could be a difference maker,” offered Osterhaus. “Trusted relationships with both patients and providers is a key ingredient to improving patient outcomes and lowering total cost of care.
Iowa CPESN believes in the role of CPESN USA and continues to seek guidance from their consultants as well as other local CPESN networks, including Arkansas, North Carolina and Minnesota. They want CPESN USA’s umbrella role to include: sharing best practices, identifying regional and national payer opportunities, and making local network payment models a reality.
Iowa CPESN has set a goal to have five or six network-wide payer contracts in place in the near future. They also hope CPESN USA has a national contract pared to the local network level. They want to clearly see the provision of care by CPESN network pharmacies become widely recognized as the best-in-class patient service and an essential piece in the health care puzzle.
When asked about providing a recommendation to up-and-coming local networks, Osterhaus said, “Time is of the essence! When a payer opportunity comes, you won’t have a lot of ramp up time to get your member pharmacies performing at a high level. Put in the work now. The train is leaving the station whether you do or you don’t. We don’t want any willing pharmacist to be left behind.”