It’s hard to believe that it has been a year since we first heard about COVID-19. The good news is that hope is on the horizon!
The Covid-19 pandemic has raised a plethora of challenges for business leaders. From business continuity to staff safety, there has been no shortage of decisions to make. So, what should PBM leaders do when their company is in the center of the industry playing a critical role in the largest pandemic to hit the world in the past 100 years? Focus on three key areas: your employees, your customers and the continuum of care.
It has often been said that a company is no greater than its people, and I find this to be 100% true. Your team is your greatest asset. And when Covid-19 first hit the world, companies had to quickly pivot, reassuring and informing team members while simultaneously closing offices out of caution and in response to federal, state and local guidelines.
In a matter of days, businesses were faced with the challenge of moving hundreds, perhaps thousands of employees, to remote work. Never before has corporate America had to shift so quickly. Ensure that your teams receive information and support daily. Consider embracing and deploying new technologies and structures of support so that teams can balance the changing needs at work and at home.
While creating a safe workplace has remained critical, ensuring business continuity has remained just as important. As PBM leaders, educate and inform customers and employees; information around vaccine availability is of great importance to both audiences, for different reasons.
Just about every CEO I’ve spoken with is concerned with workplace safety and vaccine equity. Leaders should be communicating with customers about vaccination claims, benefits requirements and availability in their communities.
And with new federal guidelines aimed at speeding up vaccine rollouts across the country, PBM business leaders are again tasked with a new business challenge: vaccine equity. Create a layer of transparency with your customers around what you do and don’t know. Be candid about vaccine availability based on client areas and vaccine priority groups, and extend this same candor and transparency with your teams.
In addition to vaccine availability, claims and requirements, PBMs have an opportunity to make sure benefits are designed to support the kind of care that physicians are prescribing patients impacted by Covid-19 and curtail any outliers. Drugs that are not FDA approved, yet those that have shown efficacy in helping combat symptoms, are cropping up in patient claims. Work with your customers to ensure their clients get what they need and will continue to do so in the current ever-changing environment.
Additionally, PBMs can work with customers to identify better ways for patients to access prescriptions in a way that is safe, convenient and reliable. These include home delivery and advising on supplies to have on-hand that aren’t at risk for shortage in the supply chain.
Develop a benefit design around the two vaccines available to support clients who might have members who have gone to the pharmacy to get the vaccination. And when the time comes for general public vaccination efforts, be prepared to support community pharmacists and clinics.
If PBMs think outside the box — applying knowledge, insight and innovation to their customers — they can help create a more communicative, transparent and inclusive ecosystem. We’re certainly up for it and hope that fellow PBMs are, too.