A PBM Relationship Built on Trust

By Staff Report

May. 29, 2004

Selecting a pharmacy benefit manager is a serious undertaking for any organization, but when the organization is a third party administrator (TPA), the decision becomes exponentially important. Not only must the TPA ensure its own needs are met, it has a fiduciary responsibility to its clients, as well.

Employee Benefit Management Corp. (EBMC), headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, is one of the Midwest’s largest companies specializing in managing and servicing self-funded benefit programs. It also is one of the most experienced. That’s why, when EBMC seeks business relationships, it closely examines the value—and values—its collaborative “partners” can bring to the table.

Bottom-Line Requirements
“We had decided that we would leverage our entire book of business to one PBM,” says Ken Patrick, vice president, EBMC, “so seeking out a true partnership arrangement—and not a vendor relationship—was going to be at the top of our list. We were looking for a company that believed in the same business values we do—honesty, integrity, and flexibility.”

EBMC also wanted a PBM that would educate and enlighten them about the PBM industry. And that’s exactly where Walgreens Health Initiatives excels.

What differentiated Walgreens Health Initiatives from the other 12 companies that submitted a proposal—and won EBMC’s contract and confidence—was its willingness to thoroughly inform the TPA about how this PBM makes its money. Its sales professionals, in essence, served as consultants to EBMC, to help guide them through the world of PBM revenue streams.

It was, in fact, Walgreens Health Initiatives’ openness that most impressed EBMC, comments Dan Yount, Walgreens Health Initiatives sales manager. Beyond that, Walgreens Health Initiatives met EBMC’s requirements by offering trustworthiness, flexibility, and a patient-first philosophy.

An Ongoing Relationship
Walgreens Health Initiatives now covers more than 75,000 lives that are part of EBMC’s book of business. These lives represent 45-plus different groups headquartered in 11 states, including retailers, manufacturers, universities, hospitals, and other organizations with members in all 50 states. According to Patrick, “Most of our clients have now moved to Walgreens Health Initiatives. Several have or are going to implement more features being offered through their program, and we have been able to demonstrate value through being very competitive with our pricing. These are all the traits we expected from the beginning. Walgreens Health Initiatives is truly a partner in assisting us with managing our clients’ health costs.

“The Walgreens Health Initiatives team—from marketing to the technical side—has exceeded our expectations. It is very refreshing in this day to have a very good feeling of trust in one of your key partners,” Patrick says.

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