URAC's Specialty Pharmacy Accreditation program recognizes organizations that meet highest quality management, consumer protection and empowerment and patient safety standards
WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 100 new CMS Shared Savings accountable care organizations have come online in 2012, joining at least that many ACOs in the private sector in a test of whether a focus on the health of a defined population can improve health outcomes and lower health care costs. As ACO providers search for partners to achieve better population health, specialty pharmacies are positioned to collaborate and bring targeted expertise in ensuring drug regimens are properly managed—for better health outcomes and lower costs.
Spending on specialty drugs topped $50 billion in 2010, and is expected to represent 40 percent of health plan drug spending by 2020. The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services defines a specialty drug as one that costs more than $600 per month. Specialty drugs may also be defined by their narrow use to treat specific, mainly chronic, and often rare conditions; special handling required; and the need for patient counseling in their use. With these highly specialized drugs comes the need for a more specialized pharmacy to manage the demanding clinical and patient safety aspects required for their safe and effective use.
"Specialty drugs are a rapidly growing area of health care, and will continue to grow with increasing attention to patient management in transitions between care settings and the emphasis on lower costs through higher quality," said Janice Anderson, RPh, director of pharmacy programs of URAC. "ACOs are envisioned to create a medical neighborhood in which high-quality providers collaborate to improve the health of a population. URAC's Specialty Pharmacy Accreditation offers assurance that organizations meet the highest standards in the industry for quality management, patient safety, and prescriber and consumer communication."
Specialty pharmacies with URAC accreditation or that are in-process include:
URAC, an independent, nonprofit organization, promotes health care quality through its accreditation, education and measurement programs. URAC offers a wide range of quality benchmarking programs and services that keep pace with the rapid changes in the health care system and provides a symbol of excellence for organizations to validate their commitment to quality and accountability. Through its broad-based governance structure and an inclusive standards development process, URAC ensures that all stakeholders are represented in establishing meaningful quality measures for the entire health care industry. For more information, visit www.urac.org.
 URAC white paper, "The Patient-Centered Outgrowth of Specialty Pharmacy." URAC, 2012.