Like most organizations, National CooperativeRx was delighted to offer our Annual Meeting as a hybrid event this year, welcoming our members and partners to the Monona Terrace in Madison, Wisconsin on May 11 after two years of networking behind a computer screen. We were also pleased to introduce a new one-day schedule: to better accommodate our virtual audience, we switched the start time to 12:00 PM, beginning the event with a tasty lunch buffet and inviting attendees to a cocktail reception immediately after the event’s conclusion.
Mark O’Connell, our Board chair, kicked things off by reiterating how great it was to be back in person and introduced our Board of Directors. The election of Heather Hormel, Senior Director of Human Resources at United Regional Health Care System to our Board was officially announced as well. You may read more about Heather and her vision for our Board in our recent blog post.
Josh Bindl, CEO, followed by highlighting our 2021 financial success and membership growth — the Cooperative currently sits at 275 member groups with 415,000 participant lives! Josh then announced that National CooperativeRx will be taking over specialty medication prior authorizations beginning January 1, 2023, and with that, our clinical team will expand as well. Josh concluded that the best thing plan sponsors can do during this unprecedented time of change is to work with trusted partners, stay informed, and engage/educate their plan participants.
Our first keynote was Dr. Jeffrey Bauer, an independent health futurist and medical economist who presented the challenges and opportunities in pharmacy benefits that are contributing to the current uncertain future of health care. He emphasized that the “one size fits all” paradigm is being replaced by precision medicine and virtual patient-provider interaction (telehealth, artificial intelligence, digital therapeutics, etc.) will replace a substantial portion of traditional, hands-on care.
Concluding our Annual Meeting was Vice President, Formulary Product and Management at CVS Health Joshua Fredell, PharmD., who educated attendees how to control specialty medication costs, noting that 54% of pharmacy spend is now driven by specialty drugs. Joshua discussed how gene therapies and biosimilars are gaining prevalence and that electronic health record connectivity leads to quicker access to therapies and higher denial rates.
We have already received a lot of positive feedback from the event:
- It was wonderful connecting in person again. Thanks for organizing a wonderful event.
- Thank you for having us! Great meeting and great employees.
- I am glad the virtual option was available.
Thank you to all who participated in our 2022 Annual Meeting and we hope you can make it to the Monona Terrace or tune in to our live stream on May 16, 2023 for another great event!