Working in Partnership: Komoto Custom Care Pharmacy

May 02, 2016

By Mark Bernhardt, Director of Product Development, AmerisourceBergen

AmerisourceBergen believes in building relationships and developing partnerships.
One such relationship with Komoto Custom Care Pharmacy, started as a valued customer and developed creatively into a valued partner in delivering managed care solutions nationally. AmerisouceBergen continually leverages its knowledge, reach and partnerships to bring value to its customers, supporting new and emerging opportunities in the marketplace.

“Our partnership with ABC has been instrumental in our growth with the hospice market. The PHA program has given us tools to thrive, and strengthened our relationship with our hospice partners.”

-Brian Komoto, CEO Komoto Custom Care Pharmacy

Background

In 2004, AmerisourceBergen created the Pharmacy Benefit Administration (PBA) Services program as a solution for its client pharmacies. At the time, managed care was expanding beyond the walls of the hospital and the physician’s office–directly impacting its retail pharmacies. AmerisourceBergen’s managed care group formed creating a Pharmacy Services Administration Organization (PSAO) network, today the Elevate Provider Network. The PSAO actively represented the pharmacies’ managed care needs in contract negotiations with PBM’s (and continues to do so today!).

However, some pharmacies wanted to provide more expansive services, so the Pharmacy Benefit Administration (PBA) Services program was formed. PBA Services provides managed care administrative resources that allow the pharmacy to become both the dispensing and administrative solution for the payer. These payers range from an employer, to a hospice agency, to a mental health agency–all serving different patient populations with the common goal to reduce cost, increase administrative efficiencies, and most importantly, enable improved quality in patient care.  

The Partnership

In 2009, PBA Services developed its first administrative solution for a hospice agency with AmerisouceBergen customer, Komoto Custom Care Pharmacy, based in Bakersfield, California. Since then, the relationship has developed from that of a customer, into a multi-faceted partnership. And it all started with PBA Services. Komoto Custom Care Pharmacy was in need of administrative resources for both the pharmacy and their large hospice agency customer. PBA Services saw an opportunity to share its expertise with a valued customer. Brian Komoto, CEO Komoto Custom Care Pharmacy, remembers,

“At the time, it occurred to us that the reimbursement was low and in discussions with the hospice we realized that they were paying the PBM more than the payment to our pharmacy. Partnering with PBA services allowed us to expand our services and improve our relationship with hospice.”

Komoto Custom Care Pharmacy was the first AmerisourceBergen pharmacy to provide hospice agency administrative services, and through partnership became a leader and innovator, paving the way for the expansion of services across the country under the Pharmacy to Hospice Administration (PHA) program.   

Update

Komoto Custom Care Pharmacy has since formed a new division focused on hospice and related services, Synergy Pharmacy Solutions. Their hospice operation has grown significantly, servicing 11 locations throughout California and processing over 8,400 claims monthly (over 100,000 claims annually).  

AmerisourceBergen’s partnership with Komoto Custom Care Pharmacy continues to evolve. Working together, PBA Services enabled Komoto’s Synergy Pharmacy Solutions, to provide dispensing and administrative services for hospice agencies throughout California. From there the partnership with Synergy continued to grow, they are now an integral part of AmerisourceBergen’s Pharmacy to Hospice Administration (PHA) program–supporting 100 hospice agencies through 40 PHA Pharmacies across the country. Not only a PHA customer, they are also a contracted partner, and Kevin Komoto, Director for Synergy Pharmacy Solutions, utilizes both his pharmacy credentials and his MBA business perspective to develop a hospice targeted MAC price schedule and a hospice drug formulary. He has also become an important clinical expert and resource for all PHA pharmacies one-on-one and within the PHA User Group. Synergy Pharmacy Solutions now part of the PBA Services team, focuses on enabling pharmacies to both dispense and manage to reduce costs for the local hospice agency and to drive new script volumes at a higher margin.

This program has proven value for pharmacies, supporting both diversification and reimbursement goals. Kevin Komoto says it best,

“Our partnership with ABC has been instrumental in our growth with the hospice market. The PHA program has given us tools to thrive, and strengthened our relationship with our hospice partners.”

For more information on AmerisourceBergen’s Pharmacy to Hospice Administration program please visit http://www.amerisourcebergenphaservices.com.