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LAS VEGAS — Owning and operating a community pharmacy has never been the easiest way to prosper in the healthcare field. But in the face of unrelenting reimbursement challenges, big-chain competition and the pressures imposed by powerful pharmacy benefit managers that dictate take-it-or-leave-it contracts covering the majority of patients and prescriptions, it’s a safe bet that the vast majority of independent and small-chain pharmacy owner/operators wouldn’t trade places with any other health professional.
That goes double for the thousands of independent pharmacists packing the Venetian Hotel’s conference center here for McKesson’s ideaShare 2012 event.
“I love independent pharmacy,” asserted Jonathan Marquess, an attendee and Health Mart franchisee who owns and operates four McKesson-supported pharmacies in suburban Atlanta. “It’s been very successful for me, and it’s provided for my family. I wouldn’t do it any other way.”
Marquess and other attendees represent the cream of the crop of independent pharmacists – among the most motivated, the most innovative and the most passionate in their commitment to patient well-being and their concern for the future of the pharmacy profession. They’ve come to Las Vegas to express that concern, to share best practices with their peers, and to learn how best to confront the myriad of challenges posed by tight-fisted third-party payers, shrinking government expenditures for Medicare and Medicaid, and a healthcare system under severe duress and in desperate need of new solutions to patient access and affordability.
McKesson’s annual gathering of pharmacy owner/operators offers a rare chance to do all that, say attendees and panelists. “McKesson gives us so many opportunities ... to do a lot of good business with our colleagues here,” noted Christine Jacobson, owner of Wasatch Pharmacy Care in Ogden, Utah.
Attendees also are looking to McKesson for answers. The event doesn’t let them down: ideaShare 2012 features dozens of expert-led sessions, including Continuing Education courses, a Public Policy Forum and an Ownership Transfer Luncheon, along with the Health Mart annual meeting. Also on tap: targeted interactive seminars to help pharmacies increase efficiency and profitability, with special emphasis on clinical services, reimbursement, front-end solutions, marketing, technology and pharmacy operations.
To Larry Hadley, co-owner of Wayne’s Pharmacy in Frankfort, Ky., ideaShare provides “the opportunity to see all the latest technology, solutions and tools that [McKesson] has, which will help me be more effective and more efficient in running my business.”