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AmerisourceBergen 'de-risks' home infusion market

AmerisourceBergen 'de-risks' home infusion market

Dan TeichCONSHOHOCKEN, Pa.  – AmerisourceBergen has long offered consulting and startup services through its Pharmacy Solutions division, so when its health system customers said they wanted to add or improve home infusion services, the company built a program to help them do just that, says Dan Teich, vice president of client strategies. 

“This is the next pivot in the market, based off talking to our customers, to help them de-risk the entry into home infusion,” he said. “It also has to do with payer trends – the idea of shifting patients away from hospital-based infusion centers. It’s really just a growing market.” 

Teich spoke with HME News about how the growing demand for home infusion services, propelled by the COVID-19 pandemic and the push for health systems to take on increased patient risk, has created an inflection point in the market. 

HME News: Why have health systems traditionally shied away from offering home infusion? 

Dan Teich: A lot of folks are great at clinical care, but the home infusion piece is a nuanced wedge. The revenue cycle is funky – it’s not hospital; it’s not pharmacy. A lot of people, when they open a home infusion business, can lose money really fast. What we’re trying to do is provide the building blocks and foundation so that the clinician can take great care of the patient and reduce barriers to entry. 

HME: How does AmerisourceBergen’s new program support health systems in creating a home infusion program? 

Teich: We’re reducing health system customer barriers to entry. They want to know how to build out policies and procedures, and how to manage that risky revenue cycle. We partner with what we feel are some of the best folks in the industry – from the revenue cycle management piece to the clinical piece to the software piece. We put all of these things together into one package, so they don’t have to spend 12 to 24 months vetting these pieces out. 

HME: Are health systems also looking to save money? 

Teich: Health systems are feeling extra pressure on their hospital-based infusion suites, with it being the highest cost site of care. The real concern is they are being forced to take more and more risk for the patient, so they want to be able to control the clinical care and the patient experience, so we’re seeing health systems continue to build out infusion service lines and this home piece is no different. 

HME: Will this have a negative impact on small home infusion providers? 

Teich: I can understand, at first glance, the independent pharmacy piece, having grown up in rural areas, but the unique piece with our solution is, it’s grounded in health systems. The health system’s position is they are not trying to expand reach outside of their core offering but want to be able to control the clinical care end of patients that they may be taking risk on. That, along with all the other providers in their periphery, creates space where everyone can successfully operate a home infusion business within their market, carve out a bit of their territory and do a nice job. The pie is massive and only growing. There are plenty of opportunities for independents and regional and larger chains.


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