Express Scripts, CPESN team up to support independent pharmacies in providing key services

Express Scripts will partner with CPESN in the latest evolution of its IndependentRx Initiative, which aims to boost independent and community pharmacies.

The pharmacy benefit manager announced Thursday that the collaboration was born from its Independent Pharmacy Advisory Committee, which includes 38 pharmacists from across the country. The partnership will initially focus on providing enhanced services to Medicare beneficiaries who have diabetes or hypertension.

Pharmacies aligned with CPESN will provide care coordination as well as medication management and optimization, and will be empowered to identify at-risk patients and offer interventions, according to the announcement.

CPESN USA's network includes more than 3,500 pharmacies across 44 states, and the partnership will create "new options for care delivery within the Express Scripts retail pharmacy network," the PBM said.

“Local pharmacies are the doorway to essential health care for many people, and independent pharmacies are critical to closing gaps in care for many communities,” said Adam Kautzner, president of Evernorth Care Management and Express Scripts, in the press release. “This collaboration with CPESN USA represents a meaningful step forward as we advance on our commitment to deepen relationships with independent pharmacists and remove barriers to quality care at the community level.”

Express Scripts and CPESN intend to build on the partnership into additional offerings and options in the future, according to the announcement.

The IndependentRx Initiative also included a pledge to boost reimbursement to independent pharmacies that are the only facility within 10 miles of an Express Scripts member, alongside creating incentive-based programs that will pay these pharmacies for performance. The company said it has invested millions in increasing these reimbursements.

Express Scripts also said it would offer independent pharmacies additional opportunities to participate in its pharmacy network.

Stephanie Smith Cooney, senior director of independent pharmacy affairs at Express Scripts and a former independent pharmacy owner, leads the committee, and she said it's key for initiatives like IndependentRx to consistently gather feedback from pharmacists on the front lines.

"It is critical that independent pharmacy perspectives are heard and considered across the pharmacy services industry,” Cooney said in the release. “Our Independent Pharmacy Advisory Committee provides a forum for this dialogue, and has already produced impactful changes, including this collaboration with CPESN USA, which will elevate independent pharmacists’ work and allow them to focus on providing people with the best care possible.”