Walgreens Infusion Services (NYSE: WAG) (Nasdaq: WAG) and Regence, an affiliation of health care plans in the Pacific Northwest/Mountain State region, recently entered into an agreement to help lower overall medical costs for specialty infusion patients in Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington. This site of care optimization program allows patients on specialty infusion medications to visit a Walgreens alternate treatment site or receive care in their home at a lower out-of-pocket cost. Specialty medications are used to treat chronic conditions including Crohn’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and various blood disorders. Depending on the drug prescribed to a patient, health plan cost savings of 30 percent to 70 percent can be possible when therapy is given at an alternate treatment site compared to other outpatient settings, according to Walgreens industry analysis of more than 5.3 million commercial managed care lives from January 2008 through December 2010. For Remicade ® (infliximab) and Immune Globulin–two high cost infusion drugs–the same data shows health plan costs are typically reduced by more than $20,000 per patient annually when provided at an alternate treatment site. “We are focused on the patient and our goal is to deliver medications at the most cost effective and most clinically appropriate site of service,” said Mike Ellis, Walgreens vice president of specialty pharmacy and infusion. “Through this agreement with Regence, patients receiving high-cost specialty medications can receive treatment in their home, or in our alternate treatment sites. With our clinicians, expertise and multiple points of care, we are playing an important role in the health care continuum.” “We have chosen to work with Walgreens as part of our ongoing effort to improve health outcomes while managing the total cost of care for our customers,” said Raulo Frear, Pharm D, general manager of RegenceRx. “We particularly value their expertise in working directly with patients to help ensure they have a superior experience when they participate in this program.”
“Prescription medications are a key driver of rising medical costs. This site of care optimization program offers the opportunity to help our members significantly reduce their out of pocket medical costs,” said Richard Popiel, M.D., executive vice president of health care services and chief medical officer for Regence. “We are pleased to select an industry leader like Walgreens to provide our members with cost-effective and convenient options for their specialty infusion needs.”The Walgreens site of care optimization program will provide services especially designed for members who are on medications requiring infusion or who have other specialty drug needs. Those who enroll in the program will be assigned a Patient Care Coordinator. This coordinator will work with a member’s physician on prescription transfers, schedule appointments, and serve as an ongoing contact to supervise the member’s needs related to infusion drug therapy. As a leading national provider of home and alternate treatment site infusion services, Walgreens Infusion Services has been treating patients with a wide range of acute and chronic conditions for more than 30 years. The company’s comprehensive infusion therapy management programs are offered for patients with nutrition disorders, in addition to those with bleeding disorders and heart failure, as well as those needing immunoglobulin (IG) therapy, anti-infective therapy and transplant services. Walgreens Infusion Services has a staff of more than 1,400 clinical experts, including specially trained infusion nurses, infusion pharmacists and registered dietitians, at more than 75 infusion pharmacies and 100 alternate treatment sites across the country. To find a location, call (866) 827-8203. About Walgreens As the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2012 sales of $72 billion, Walgreens ( www.walgreens.com) vision is to become America’s first choice for health and daily living. Each day, Walgreens provides more than 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services help improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. The company operates 8,098 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country. About Regence Regence serves more than two million members through Regence BlueShield of Idaho, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah and Regence BlueShield (selected counties in Washington). Each health plan is a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Regence is committed to improving the health of its members and communities and to transforming the health care system. For more information, please visit www.regence.com or follow us on Twitter.