News, Announcements and Expert Commentary from Inova

Inova Establishes First In-House Specialty Pharmacy in Region to Care for Patients with Chronic Illnesses

FALLS CHURCH, VA – On May 13, Inova Health System opened its newest pharmacy, named Inova Pharmacy Plus, at the Inova Schar Cancer Institute campus (a service of Inova Fairfax Hospital). This pharmacy is the region’s first in-house, health-system-owned specialty pharmacy. The new pharmacy is radically different than traditional pharmacies in that it is designed to assist patients with complicated, chronic, and complex diseases. For example, Inova Pharmacy Plus provides on-site resources called Pharmacy Liaisons that are embedded in the clinics where these patients are seen. Pharmacy Liaisons help patients navigate the complex insurance and pharmacy environment by securing medication authorizations, obtaining financial assistance to reduce out of pocket expenses, and providing medication adherence monitoring. New specialty pharmacy services will also include follow-up home care to assure patients maintain a sustained treatment regimen. Patients will also have access to a Clinical Pharmacist 24×7.

Patients with serious chronic diseases, such as cancer, often require specific medications which, with respect to potency, availability and affordability, can be difficult for patients to obtain. Inova Pharmacy Plus facilitates a seamless continuity of treatment from the clinic to the pharmacy by retaining and dispensing these medications, which are called Limited Distribution Drugs, or LDDs. These services have proven vital and produce significantly improved patient outcomes.

“For patients with cancer, a delay in care is really care denied,” commented Melanie Massiah-White, Executive Director, Chief Pharmacy Officer, Inova Health System.  “From diagnosis and treatment to patient follow-up at home, our in-house specialty pharmacy is designed to meet every cancer patient’s immediate and long-term health needs. We look forward to expanding the specialty pharmacy program to other chronic disease programs across Inova.”  Other disease states include solid organ transplant, rheumatology, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension and HIV.

Thanks to a partnership with the nation’s leading specialty pharmacy integrator, Shields Health Solutions, the Inova Pharmacy Plus program meets all Federal and State regulations and is in full operation. Specialty pharmacies in general are highly regulated given their access to rare medications, clinical pharmacist care plans, and required data reporting to both drug manufacturers and insurance providers.

“One of the most important reasons we started the specialty pharmacy program is because medication adherence rates for patients involved in such a program jump from 40% to 90%. Higher medication adherence rates is a critical factor for patients to achieve healthy outcomes. A high percentage of patients don’t adhere to their medications regimes, or only do so partially because of affordability or other factors that we can now help manage,” Massiah-White observed.  “Coupled with our new services, our specialty pharmacy program gives physicians far more insight into their patient’s long-term progress. We can now closely coordinate care between physicians in clinic, the pharmacy, and the patient at home, giving physician’s insight into a patient’s progress between clinic appointments.”

For more information please contact Inova Pharmacy Plus at 571-472-1100 or email us at InovaPharmacyPlusISCI@Inova.org.

Media Contact: Kelly Schlageter, kelly.schlageter@inova.org, 571-472-0200

About Inova
Inova is Northern Virginia’s leading nonprofit healthcare provider, employing more than 18,000 team members and serving more than 2 million individuals annually through an integrated network of hospitals, primary and specialty care practices, emergency and urgent care centers, outpatient services and destination institutes. Inova is home to Northern Virginia’s only Level 1 Trauma Center and Level 4 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Its hospitals have a total of 1,800 licensed beds. Our mission is to provide world-class healthcare – every time, every touch – to each person in every community we have the privilege to serve. More information and statistics about Inova can be found at www.inova.org.

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