The founding of Northeast Pharmacy Service Corporation (NPSC) began with a meeting between four Massachusetts independent community pharmacy owners in 1990. Their purpose was to organize the independent pharmacies in Massachusetts under a single contract to provide prescription services for John Hancock of Massachusetts. In early 1991, a consultant who had experience in the creation of networks and pharmacy service administration organizations (PSAO) spoke to the four. Recruitment of pharmacies into the network began in earnest. In eight months, there were 450 participating pharmacies in Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. NPSC was born.
In early 1992 after its success in Massachusetts, Northeast was asked to branch into CT by The Bridgeport Pharmaceutical Association that was pushing for an alignment of independents with NPSC. Some 200 Connecticut pharmacies came on board by the end of 1992 and NPSC began serving the purchasing and contracting needs of over 700 pharmacies. In 1994, NPSC put out an RFP to the wholesalers in the New England market and three were awarded contracts to service the growing network. This formalized a relationship between NPSC and wholesale suppliers. These agreements became the cornerstone of NPSC’s prime vendor program. A full portfolio of authorized vendors round out the offerings in the Prime vendor program which represent products and services that independent community pharmacies need. NPSC has numerous other vendor contracts through their agreement with the Federation of Pharmacy Networks.
In mid-1995, Northeast prepared to operate the pharmacy benefit for Health Right, a Medicaid HMO in Connecticut. The federal rules mandated comprehensive pharmacy and pharmacist credentialing, which NPSC vigorously pursued in Connecticut and later in Massachusetts. Today, support for credentialing and re-credentialing is an ongoing activity of the company. In addition to credentialing, NPSC provides fiduciary services electronically with the network stores when it advantages the pharmacies. From a payer’s perspective, NPSC is a very efficient mechanism for contracting with participating pharmacies and the 20+ year relationship that NPSC has had with a number of PBM’s is highly valued by both entities.
The combination of fiduciary capacity, help desk activities, regulatory affairs and legislative support, along with our field consultant’s direct work with the stores, proves to be very valuable services for participating pharmacies. We created Medication Error Quality Assurance Program for Connecticut Pharmacies when the state mandated that each pharmacy establish such a program in 2003. We guided Participating Pharmacies through the maze of Medicare discount cards in 2004. In 2005, we provided Continuous Quality Improvement Program to Massachusetts pharmacies to meet the state’s mandate. In 2006, we supported the implementation of Medicare D and we created a Pseudoephedrine signature logbook. In 2008, NPSC provided pharmacies with an update of HIPAA Privacy training. In 2013, we consolidated HIPAA Privacy and Security into a single, coherent up-to-date volume. In 2014 we provided a perpetual inventory book for control drugs amidst a growing opioid epidemic and a DEA crackdown on pharmacies. Our annual Vendor Expo and Continuing Education program has been a successful event for our network pharmacists for over 20 years! The Expo provides an opportunity for our owners to meet and do business with our vendors and enjoy CE programs specifically designed for the independent owner! It is a great event!
NPSC’s Board currently consists of thirteen Directors; nine are pharmacy owners, two are pharmacist-non-owners, two others are neither directly nor indirectly involved in the business of operating pharmacies. The Board develops the policies and priorities that guide the company. Each share of stock is surrendered whenever a Director leaves their office and it has a nominal value of ten dollars. Board members cannot profit from NPSC.
Effective July 1, 2015, our prime vendor wholesalers are McKesson, Kinray, Cardinal and HD Smith.
NPSC’s highest strategic objective today is to improve each Participating Pharmacies Performance as assessed by CMS’s 5-Star Program. We are moving to implement synchronization and medication adherence services for chronic care medications in all stores. We are monitoring the registration of each pharmacy with Mirixa and Outcomes and strongly encourage the pharmacies to complete their cases. We have been strongly encouraging the network to adopt immunization programs in their stores. To date, approximately 90% of network stores are at the least providing flu vaccines.
We are actively involved with regulatory and legislative activities in each of the four states we work in (MA, CT, RI and ME). At the national level we work through the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA). Each unique pharmacy owner in NPSC is enrolled as a member of NCPA through a special partnering program.
At its peak, Northeast represented over 700 pharmacies. Today, Northeast has approximately 300 participating pharmacies, with growth coming from other areas of New England, new store openings, and recruitment activities in the field. Northeast is a lean, mean, efficient operation and is healthier and stronger than ever!