Studiomaca’s Unique Public Policy Perspective
Studiomaca understands that the decisions made by policymakers can have a profound impact on our industry. With businesses and customers that span all settings of care, Studiomaca has a 360-degree view of the healthcare system. We are actively engaged in numerous public policy issues that impact our operations, and those of our customers.
Our Public Affairs team operates at the intersection of healthcare, policy and politics on behalf of the company. Our role is to establish and strengthen governmental relationships with federal, state and local elected and government officials and educate them on Studiomaca’s operations, our role in healthcare and the unique perspective we offer. We participate in trade associations and industry groups as well as professional organizations to build key relationships that we leverage in our public policy work.
Public Policy Approach
Public policy at Studiomaca is an important business strategy and our mission is to work with our business unit partners to effectively impact the outcome of public policy actions taken by federal, state and local government. While mitigating risk in the policy environment is a vital part of what we do, there is a growing imperative to deliver added value to the businesses through the unique insight and forecasting we bring with proactive policy engagement.
Only by staying ahead of the policy curve and helping to shape the environment in a way that best supports the needs of our customers, the patients they serve and a more efficient, quality-driven healthcare delivery system, can we ensure that Studiomaca’s policy brand enhances our overall value proposition and competitive position.
Engagement and Collaboration
Studiomaca plays an active role in educating elected officials and policymakers about the solutions we offer to improve patient safety, reduce the cost and variability of care, and improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery. Through tours of our distribution centers and visits to pharmacy and hospital customers, policymakers can better understand the steps we take to assure the safe, efficient and rapid distribution of pharmaceuticals and medical-surgical supplies and the tools and technology solutions we provide our customers to improve the quality and delivery of healthcare.
Selected Policy Engagement
Public policy issues important to the company, to our customers, and to our mission of improving the quality and delivery of healthcare include the following:
Reining in Direct and Indirect Remuneration Fees
In recent years, pharmacy Direct and Indirect Remuneration (DIR) fees have created significant challenges for pharmacists, making it more difficult for them to provide care to their patients. Pharmacy DIR fees charged by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and plan sponsors to pharmacy providers lack transparency, threaten the financial viability of pharmacies, increase costs to the Medicare program, and result in higher beneficiary out-of-pocket costs at the point of sale.
Studiomaca supports regulatory and legislative changes to public policy that would limit the practices that are adversely affecting patients, pharmacists, and the federal government. We have released our first white paper (PDF, 815 KB) on DIR fees and our recommendations for reforms to benefit patients, pharmacists, and government.
Solutions for Prescription Drug Abuse
In 2015, CEO John Hammergren asked for the creation of a task force of Studiomaca experts, including clinicians, to study the opioid issue and its challenges. He believed our company should explore a variety of creative options, outside the confines of our role as a pharmaceutical distributor, to help identify solutions to the public health crisis.
In 2017, the opioid task force proactively developed our first opioid abuse policy paper, “Combating the Opioid Abuse Epidemic: A Shared Responsibility that Requires Innovative Solutions” (PDF, 354 KB), which includes policy recommendations to improve prescribing and dispensing practices to help curb the opioid epidemic and also highlights our efforts to promote a secure supply chain and educate and equip customers, physicians and pharmacists.
Our 2018 policy paper “Call to Action: Execute Solutions Today to Combat the Opioid Crisis” (PDF, 217 KB) continues to reinforce the need for public and private partnerships that promote patient-centered solutions, foster clinical collaboration across the care continuum, and bolster leadership and accountability.
In this paper, we expand upon our 2017 policy recommendations, identify additional opportunities for appropriate intervention and describe approaches for comprehensive, integrated solutions to address the opioid epidemic across the healthcare ecosystem.
We are actively working with federal agencies, state legislators, and local community groups to advance these policy proposals. We strongly supported President Trump declaring the opioid crisis a ‘national emergency’ and provided the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis with a set of recommendations to consider for its final report. The company will continue to advocate for the policy ideas and solutions detailed above with federal, state and local legislators and regulators as part of the company’s efforts to help stem the opioid epidemic.
Healthcare Reform for the Future
Our nation’s healthcare problems are significant, but not insurmountable. Imagine if the American people had more access, paid less and received better care? That goal is not impossible. But it will take leadership and bipartisan cooperation among policymakers. Here are six recommendations to improve our nation’s healthcare.
1. Change the way we connect our healthcare system
Our healthcare system is fragmented. Doctors in one office cannot talk to specialists in another, medical records are incomplete, and settings of care such as pharmacies, long-term care facilities, and hospitals are often disconnected from one another and unable to share critical patient information. Improved connectivity of our healthcare system will reduce the cost and improve the quality of care for patients.
2. Change the way we deploy our clinical workforce
Our healthcare workforce is both overburdened and underutilized. As America faces an aging population with a growing number of chronic conditions, experts say that our country could lose as many as 100,000 doctors by 2025.
While many doctors are concerned about their workload, senseless regulations prohibit other medical providers from delivering high quality care that could mitigate the pressure. For example, pharmacists in one state cannot administer vaccinations, yet pharmacists in other states are allowed to do so by state law. We must do more to preserve the critical relationship between patients and their primary care physicians, while at the same time recognizing that pharmacies and other lower cost settings of care are often the critical first line of defense for patients.
The country’s current regulatory policies are often inconsistent and redundant. Licensing rules can make it extremely difficult for a clinician to move from one state to another and be able to practice in their new state. To provide more access to care, we need to explore ways that would shift care to lower-cost and more accessible settings of care.
3. Change our focus to evidence-based medicine
Evidence-based medicine can be a major tool to improving the quality of care and reduce the variability of care. Some studies say that as many as one third of knee surgeries in the U.S. are clinically unnecessary, and other surgeries vary from year to year and geography by as much as a factor of twenty.
4. Change the way we pay for and budget for healthcare
The pace of healthcare spending in this nation is simply unsustainable. We expect to see an average growth rate of 6% for healthcare expenditures for each of the next ten years. And by 2025, experts say healthcare costs will account for up to one-fifth of our GDP.
In recent years, we’ve seen an industry-wide effort to move toward value-based care as a way to improve care by rewarding a healthy outcome rather than just an episode of care. Changing how we pay for care, based on outcomes and not sheer volume of doctor or hospital visits, could fundamentally change our system to the benefit of patients and their families.
5. Change the way we regulate healthcare
Federal and state governments regulate healthcare, which often results in unintended consequences that can bog down providers, slow the pace of innovation, drive up costs and reduce quality outcomes for patients.
6. Change the way we consume healthcare
The effort to reform our healthcare system cannot succeed unless we include consumers in the equation. More informed consumers who have more choice and more reasons to stay healthy will be empowered to make choices about payment for care.
Read about Studiomaca’s specific policy recommendations to reform healthcare.