Written by Brian Salgado
Originally Posted in Supply Chain World Magazine
When Hurricane Sandy touched down in the Northeast, numerous pharmaceutical suppliers were unable to deliver medications to the customers who needed them the most. However, Remedi SeniorCare continued operating with nary an interruption due to its emergency planning and prepared staff.
“We have a robust standard process we have mapped out and thought through to ensure we can continue to do business in these situations,” says Aaron Mann, vice president of organizational effectiveness for Remedi SeniorCare. “Across the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, you have to be prepared for emergency situations like this. When you’re filling prescriptions for residents of nursing homes who are taking eight, nine or 10 medications a day, you have to be at the right place at the right time.”
A proactive response to a critical emergency situation is just one way Remedi SeniorCare provides service to long-term care facilities and their residents across nine states and Washington, D.C.
When the company was founded in Baltimore in 2002, it served nearly 1,000 beds while maintaining a retail pharmacy and home infusion business. In 2005, Remedi SeniorCare’s mission shifted to serve the growing long-term care industry, including skilled nursing and assisted living facilities.
Today, Remedi SeniorCare serves more than 30,000 residents with its customer-inspired innovative technologies, including Paxit® automated dispensing system. Investing close to $30 million over five years, Paxit delivers superior accuracy, significant cost reductions and greater nursing efficiency with its patented unit-dose robotic dispensing technology. The company says it is constantly developing new technologies to add to its existing portfolio to achieve even greater levels of these customer needs so its clients can deliver the best care to their residents.
THE SANDY SCENARIO
As weather forecasters and first-response agencies began sending out warnings about the strength and severity of the incoming Hurricane Sandy, Remedi SeniorCare sprang into action. The Friday before the storm hit the Northeast, Mann says the company began notifying its customers that it was launching its standard process protocols for emergency situations. That meant it would process more orders than normal in a shorter amount of time to get medications to long-term care facilities faster and earlier.
“We looked at the weather reports to determine which facilities would be affected by flooding and road closures, and we worked back from there,” Mann says. “We delivered that on Saturday well before the storm entered the area.”
Remedi SeniorCare also made sure its own facilities were prepared for the impending storm. Each of its warehouses are outfitted with large fuel tanks and generators, and they were stocked with the right number of staffers and vehicles to make sure medications hit the road when they were expected.
“There weren’t any issues, which is a real testament to the quality of our process and the team,” Mann says. “We’ve been through this before, and the teams did a great job with what needed to happen. We routinely practice a version of this throughout the year when we don’t need it.”
Practicing these protocols ensured Remedi employees knew how to operate generators and fuel tanks, and nurses would know how to send out additional medications to overcome the potential interruption of operations. “We find that practice is the best preparation here,” Mann says.
A PRESCRIPTION FOR SERVICE
Remedi SeniorCare’s customers admit new patients at all hours of the day, seven days a week. That means the company must operate its pharmacies 24/7 to ensure medications arrive in a timely manner.
“Through our unit-dose dispersion system, we’re always packaging tomorrow’s medications today,” Mann says. “As a result, our facilities can maintain substantially lower levels of inventory, which leads to safer, more cost-effective outcomes.”
Prescriptions must arrive at these facilities on time and must be the proper dosages. Mann says the company has a customer service department known as the “Rapid Response Team,” which specializes in these situations for its clients.
“We need to get medications to these facilities accurately the first time,” Mann says. “If our customers are at work, we need to be at work ready to go support them.” The process also improves the supply chain by reducing waste, increasing accuracy and making sure nurses have more time to care for residents.
Mann says the future is bright for Remedi SeniorCare as the company expands deeper into the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. In fact, the company has recently opened two state-of-the-art Paxit pharmacies in Virginia and Ohio, with more on the horizon in 2013, including Philadelphia in the first quarter.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about taking care of our customers and the residents they serve,” according to Mann.