Palm Springs, CA – Abarca, a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) that is disrupting the industry with an entirely new approach to technology and business practices, today announced that it has received the 2019 Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute (PBMI) Excellence Award for Care Management Strategies for its disaster preparation and recovery program. This response plan, that is rooted in business continuity, employee engagement, and patient safety, was put to the test in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
“Abarca’s natural disaster response plan transcends the traditional role of a PBM,” said Jane Lutz, Executive Director of PBMI. “Their willingness to go above and beyond for those in need, while maintaining uninterrupted business operations, should serve as an inspiration for other PBMs and technology providers everywhere.”
When the category 5 storm made landfall in Puerto Rico in 2017, it devastated many communities that Abarca serves, resulting in serious obstacles for patients in need of medications, among other community health challenges. Abarca launched a multi-faceted response plan to ensure access and continuity for their members, employees, and clients, using tactics that included:
- Deploying clinical and operational teams to pharmacies across the island to assist in processing claims, ensuring patient adherence, and gathering and disseminating critical information about pharmacy operations
- Cultivating an internal culture of awareness and preparedness, that includes business continuity training and drills throughout the year
- Developing and maintaining an online database that provided up-to-date information about pharmacy operations across the island
As a result of their preparation, and highly redundant infrastructure, Abarca experienced zero downtime in their ability to process claims and respond to calls from members, pharmacies, and physicians. And, by adapting its Medication Therapy Management (MTM) program to include in person visits to doctor’s offices and patient’s homes, Abarca was able to achieve a 5-star Comprehensive Medication Reviews (CMR) completion rate of 87%, on average, despite most patients being without telephone service for nearly 3 months.
“Natural disasters can have a tremendous impact on community health, but Abarca feels that we have a responsibility to relieve that burden as much as possible for our clients and members,” said Jason Borschow, President and CEO of Abarca. “By developing a preparedness plan, and continuing to re-evaluate and improve it, disasters don’t have to result in catastrophe for the lives that we serve.”