As demand for long-term care facilities has grown in recent years, and is expected to increase in the coming years as Baby Boomers age, the capacity of long-term care facilities is headed in a direction that is diverging from the need. It’s decreasing.
A report released in April of 2022 predicted that up to 400 nursing home facilities would close that year, based purely on finances. That same report noted that more than 1,000 nursing homes have closed since 2015, and 327 of those closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, a number of long-term care facilities are reportedly limiting admissions even before reaching capacity due to staffing issues.
However, a recent spate of long-term care facility closures, largely in rural areas, also signals another challenge the industry is facing: a shortage of providers. A recent report by NBC News revealed that between February of 2020 and November of 2021, the number of staffers working at long-term care facilities has dropped by more than 400,000.
Healthcare wages, for nurses and nursing assistants working long-term care facilities, lag behind other industries in large part due to the reliance on Medicaid payments, according to the report. As the long-term care environment feels the pressure, and in many cases the necessity, to create cost-savings efficiencies, it’s valuable to understand how a partnership with a long-term care pharmacy — like UnitedRX — supports those goals.
One of our partners, the Center on Deafness, pointed out one way that a relationship with UnitedRX helped them identify opportunities for savings.
“Five years ago, United was able to identify billing issues from our previous pharmacy and developed unique pricing and formulary solutions enabling us to realize tremendous savings,” said a clinical director at the facility.
That type of realization isn’t uncommon for UnitedRX partners. One of the reasons we’re able to catch cost-savings opportunities is because we are committed to delivering a hometown pharmacy experience, which means we build and value real relationships with our partners. The long-term care facilities with which we partner are not just a number to us.
To that end, our commitment to communication — in the way a partner prefers — is a valued attribute that allows for digital integration, offering cost savings, creating efficiencies and expediting personnel workflow and coordination.
And, our adoption of technology improves communication, tracking and reporting while reducing errors and creating cost savings for the partners with which we work.
We’ve also developed a number of unique internal programs and processes designed with cost efficiency in mind. Through our formulary management program, our team guides facilities in the discovery and use of medications that are as effective but more cost-conscious. Our unique pricing structures also allow facilities to save on generic medications, thanks to per diem pricing, while also receiving wholesale pricing on name brand medications, which minimizes price fluctuations from month to month.
And, our no-waste system only charges facilities for medications that patients have actually used instead of what is dispensed, which has the potential to create a sizable cost savings for long-term care facilities.
Perhaps our most valuable intangible attribute, though, is our understanding of the industry and the challenges long-term care facilities are facing, and our ability and willingness to develop customized, creative solutions. At UnitedRX, we don’t do things the way “they’ve always been done.” We work to find systems and solutions that make the most sense for each individual facility.
To learn more about how a partnership with UnitedRX may provide cost savings to your long-term care facility, reach out to one of our team members.
At UnitedRX, we deliver a hometown pharmacy experience to more than 400 clients across the country. Contact us to learn more about how our approach to treatment can meet the pharmacy needs of your long-term care facility.