A Partner in Hospice Care

Drew Mihalyo of Delta Care Rx discusses the company’s pass-through pharmacy pricing model.

Delta Care Rx aims to be a partner with its hospice clients, helping to manage costs associated with medications used in end-of-life care. The company’s business model provides for transparency of pricing for services, pass-through prescription purchases, and formulary development based on clients’ needs.

“We have broken away from the traditional business models offered by competitors that charged hospices based an average wholesale price discount,” Drew Mihalyo, Pharm.D., founder and president of Delta Care, said in an interview.

The company’s model is based on transparent service fees that are spelled out in a client’s contract and includes auditable pass-through pricing.

Called Hospice Taper, the model provides for the prices it pays for prescription drugs to be passed along to clients. For example, a pharmacy benefit manager would pay $6.85 for olanzapine 5 mg for 30 tablets, a typical hospice medication, an antipsychotic that is used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar. The average wholesale price of olanzapine is $370 and, with its discount, the hospice pays its pharmacy benefit manager about $220.

But Delta Care would pass on the $6.85 price. These prices would be listed in the contract and clients would be able to audit the provider at any time.

Mihalyo said that when the company first launched in 2008, they realized there was a better way to manage pharmacy costs. The formulary is developed in consultation with clients so there is less off formulary prescribing. There are no penalties for off-formulary prescribing; Delta Care still passes through the costs they paid for medications.

“With traditional hospice pharmacy models, the only way you can really control your cost is if you’re operating off of a pretty strict formulary,” he said. “Delta Care does not go into a new partner relationship with a cookie cutter formulary. Because the formulary is produced in concert with the client, they go off formulary less often.”

Delta Care also provides pharmacy billing solutions, on-demand pharmacist services, electronic prescribing, and coordination with electronic medical systems.

“We continue to look at ways by which we can develop technology that doesn't typically exist inside of a standard hospice, say, electronic medical record system. Instead, we build those within our own technology,” Mihalyo said.

One of its newest EHR partners is Net Health. The companies announced in March that the Delta Care solution will be integrated with Optima Hospice, Net Health’s specialized hospice EHR system. Delta Care also has interfaces with Suncoast, Epic, and Cerner, among others.

Delta Care also offers free access to a suite of remote patient care and telehealth tools.

“This allows our partners to care for their patients from afar,” he said. “This is our own version of FaceTime or a secure video tool that during COVID-19 proved to be helpful for countless organizations that were able see patients who were not same location. We’ve challenged ourselves to go beyond a pharmaceutical care provider.”