Dea Belazi, President & CEO, AscellaHealth
Despite the sweeping changes that have taken place in the U.S. healthcare market in recent years, most pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) retain a cookie cutter approach in the services they offer. The future however lies in the hands of those PBMs who are ready to embrace a differentiated operating model—one focused on personalized experiences and positive patient outcomes. In that vein, AscellaHealth is an embodiment of the new age PBM as the company is redefining care management through inventive pharmacy benefit management solutions and robust clinical programs. “While there are many PBMs in the market, our forte lies in the flexible and customizable pharmacy benefits we offer,” remarks Dea Belazi, President and CEO, AscellaHealth. “The name of the game is high-quality prescription drug management services, delivered at reasonable price points.”
While AscellaHealth is no stranger to the Amazon-like service delivery that large organizations demand, the company’s larger goal is to help small and mid-sized healthcare brands achieve a competitive edge. Often, corporate giants in the PBM market fail to offer niche services and support to SMBs with budgetary constraints. AscellaHealth is receptive to the needs of small and underserved organizations and offers lean and nimble solutions that enhance existing systems instead of propagating a rip-and-replace approach. The company's unique value proposition largely stems from Belazi's acumen, as the CEO has almost two decades of expertise in the PBM space, making him a go-to expert on drug management, medication delivery, managed care, and consulting. “The idea behind AscellaHealth is to deconstruct conventional healthcare models and reconstruct new standards in value-based patient care and clinical performance,” says the CEO. Today backed by Belazi’s deep industry knowledge and entrepreneurial skills, AscellaHealth has evolved from a start-up to being recognized as an innovative and promising name in the PBM world. “The journey from managing 100,000 lives to nearly 2 million lives today has been a fulfilling experience,” he adds.
Built for Best Possible Clinical Outcomes
AscellaHealth’s innovation balanced with the desire to make a meaningful difference in healthcare is reflected through its strategic focus on the complex needs of PACE or the programs of all-inclusive care for the elderly. Most PACE plans are small in scale comprising 50 to a few hundred members and thus, don’t pique the interest of large PBMs. AscellaHealth, however, outlines best medical practices that enable seniors to receive the entire continuum of care from the comfort of their homes. The company offers a wide range of Medicare Part D claims processing services, pharmacy and specialty pharmacy services, clinical support, reporting packages, and formulary and rebate management solutions.
Whether seniors reside in facilities or in the community at large, AscellaHealth’s long term care (LTC) pharmacy solutions ensure improved quality of care. The company operates a national network of retail pharmacies that facilitate quick delivery alongside specialty and mail order pharmacy services.
The idea behind AscellaHealth is to deconstruct conventional healthcare models and reconstruct new standards in value-based patient care and clinical performance
AscellaHealth was the solution of choice for a nursing institution in the U.S. dealing in acute-care, when the client was unable to access a specific drug due to limited distribution. The drug was available only with two other vendors across the country, but with AscellaHealth’s expansive pharmacy network, the healthcare facility received the drug in no time. “No matter where a client is based, we offer around the clock assistance, even after-hours and on holidays to ensure patients never go without their medication,” mentions Belazi.
Enabling the “Care” in Healthcare
For seamless claims adjudication, the company’s claims processing system and web-based reporting tools enable users to receive instant access to cost data in real time. To ensure patients are actively involved in their health and pharmacy decisions, the company also has a mobile application in place. The solution encourages member engagement and features informative tools such as personalized reminder messaging, drug price comparisons, and an AscellaHealth pharmacy locator.
“Because LTC facilities use LTC pharmacies, we wrap around our solutions their existing infrastructure, driving cost-savings and transparency, as opposed to select PBMs that dismiss a client’s in-house pharmacy distribution capabilities,” explains Belazi. If the situation demands, AscellaHealth goes the extra mile to design technology solutions that are built with both IT infrastructure and employee and patient requirements in mind. Furthermore, to foolproof all solutions against cyber threats and compliance risks, the company has numerous security features and competent risk management strategies in place to protect patient information from costly data breaches.
Another area where the company is carving a mark is specialty pharmacy services. With the ever increasing number and cost of specialty drugs, AscellaHealth’s program coordinates member, physician, and specialty pharmacy to manage all specialty drug needs from cost containment to distribution of high cost bio-tech drugs. For maximum client benefit, the company has designed a unique and proprietary service that extends discounts on prescription medications to customers exceeding any other PBM in the industry. In an instance, a major employer organization with over 20,000 employees saved 15 percent in specialty costs after implementing AscellaHealth’s unique comprehensive specialty pharmacy service.
Moving forward, AscellaHealth is looking at further differentiating itself with state-of-the-art drug information tools that offer advanced analytics and also by expanding their mobile platform. Blockchain technology will be another area of research for the company as Belazi believes it has the potential to enable smart payments and improve the interoperability of health data. “We think we are a few years ahead of the market, largely because we don’t believe in conforming to norms,” asserts Belazi. Whether its technology, consulting service, or benefit management solutions, with their indomitable customer centric strategy and focus on innovation, AscellaHealth is truly an apt representation of next-gen PBM.