DBusiness: Where are you?
Jeffrey Lewis: In McLean, Va. I work and live in metro Detroit during the week and commute home on the weekends. While I’m here, I typically set up a breakfast, lunch, or dinner with someone on Capitol Hill or within the (Obama) administration. I use the time to stay on top of pending legislation, new regulations, and rule-making.
DB: What’s going on this weekend?
JL: I’m having lunch with Scott Shepherd, senior policy adviser to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia). Scott and I have known each other for years, and he was intrigued with what we’re doing in Arizona in terms of pharmacy work and controlling costs within the Medicare population and the working population. We’ll spend a couple of hours together and, hopefully, enjoy a good cigar.
DB: What’s the end goal?
JL: Scott wants to see if some of our successes can be used in West Virginia and other parts of the country. We’ve been working with the John C. Lincoln Health Network’s Accountable Care Organization (in Phoenix) to create new pharmacy programs that boost results and reduce costs. We are a strategic partner with John C. Lincoln, and we’re working with the Medicare population to better manage chronic disease symptoms to keep people out of what I call the revolving door of the emergency room. When we can intervene successfully, we can keep people living independently as long as possible — which is one of the senator’s goals.
DB: How can employers prepare for the new rules under Obamacare in 2014?
JL: There’s no one answer. We work with individual clients around the country to develop specific plans that result in lower (pharmacy) costs, both on the private and public (employer) side. Again, we want to maximize savings and minimize pain. We look at using more generic drugs, helping to set up wellness programs, and putting together savings analyses. Our CEO, Mindi Fynke, and I have been traveling around to meet with hospitals and health care organizations to develop new programs. Any time you can sit down with an administrator and show them how they can save $500,000, or even $100,000, they’re going to sit up and listen — especially when you can boost overall wellness at the same time. db —R.J. King