Born in the heart of the recession from a desire to better serve home-care patients, its partners – Paul Reinert and Greg Horton of Integrity Home Care, Jim Montgomery of Dan’s Discount Drugs, and Sean McQueary, John Sherwood, Rocky Levell and Marcus Wilson – began to serve long-term care facilities in 2011 with an innovative new approach.
With its roughly 1,500 home-care customers, Integrity Pharmacy acts as a pharmaceutical manager, assisting clients who often are taking 10 or more prescriptions a day, says co-owner Montgomery.
Customers receive individualized packets – usually 30 days at a time – with each day’s medication inside. When a prescription changes, Integrity changes on a dime with updated daily packets.
“The first goal was to allow patients to manage their medications better so they could stay in their homes as long as possible,” Montgomery says. “The No. 1 reason why patients will leave their home and either are put into a hospital or into a facility is medication management. They can’t manage their meds. So we developed a system that helps patients to stay on track.”
Technology plays a crucial role in the process. The company has developed its own software and invested more than $500,000 in two robotic packaging machines – called Pacmeds and developed by McKesson Corp. – that produce strings of daily packages. Each one is checked by a licensed pharmacist to ensure safety before medications are delivered to patients.
The five-year-old company’s unique business model has fueled 156 percent growth during the last three years. Integrity posted $5.37 million in 2010 revenues, $8.96 million in 2011 and $13.76 million last year.
Integrity officials have given tours of its 12,000-square-foot office at 509 S. Union Ave. to people such as U.S. Rep. Billy Long, R-Springfield, and pharmaceutical representatives from Merck to detail its cost savings business model, which delivers daily packets of medication for patients at each long-term care facility it serves. Five drivers each day serve its 21 care facilities across the region – from Joplin to Lake of the Ozarks.
When a patient changes medications, the payer, such as an insurance provider, is only charged for the number of days the patient took the pills.
Across the industry, Montgomery says, pharmacists who serve these health care facilities typically charge upfront for 14-day or 30-day supplies of medication, but Integrity’s model operates on what Montgomery calls “post-consumption billing.”
When a doctor changes a patient’s prescription on day four, for example, Integrity only charges for those four days’ worth of pills rather than a 14- or 30-day supply a patient might not need. The idea is to reduce unnecessary expenses on behalf of its long-term care clients, and it is gaining traction.
Fueled by growth on the long-term side of the business, Montgomery says he expects 2013 revenues to increase by 20 percent.
Currently, about one-third of Integrity’s revenues come from long-term care facilities, but Montgomery says that could grow to about 50 percent by year’s end.
“It is truly saving hundreds of thousands of dollars that we are not billing out,” Montgomery says, adding that managing cash flow is an ongoing challenge. “But it is what makes us very unique, and it is also why we are growing so fast.”
Marc Essensa, a vice president of sales and marketing and general manager with pharmaceutical wholesaler McKesson Corp., says Integrity’s business model is spurring revenue growth at a time when other pharmacy sales are flat or slightly depressed.
“I think Integrity is very innovative,” Essence says. “When it goes to a customer, it says, ‘What are your needs?’ And it adapts to meet those needs versus saying, ‘This is what we can