Join us as we learn more about HOSP board member Tim Affeldt, PharmD who serves as the Vice President of Specialty/Infusion Operations at Fairview Pharmacy Services. Mr. Affeldt is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, College of Pharmacy. Since joining Fairview Pharmacy Services in September 2013, he has provided overall strategic direction and leadership to the Specialty and Mail Order pharmacies, Infusion Center pharmacy, Home Infusion, Compounding pharmacy, Specialty Clinic and Discharge pharmacy, Facilities and Shipping/Receiving. He is a former Pharmacy Alumni Society board member, mentor to first year students and preceptor for APPE leadership rotations for the College of Pharmacy. He holds a position as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota, College of Pharmacy in the Department of Pharmaceutical Care and Health Systems. Mr. Affeldt has chaired and served as a member on multiple committees and is a current member of the National Home Infusion Association (Chair), the National Home Infusion Association Government Affairs Committee, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation MinnDakotas Chapter Board (Board of Chancellors), the Health System Owned Specialty Pharmacy Alliance Board (Treasurer) and the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (GAC Committee). Tim lives in Woodbury, Minnesota with his wife and 4 kids.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself. How did you end up in the health system-owned specialty pharmacy industry?
A: After working for 18 years in the national retail pharmacy industry, I had the opportunity to move to a health system. At the time, I didn’t realize that health systems were building out ambulatory pharmacy operations instead of sending their patients off to other pharmacy organizations. It seemed like a great move, and I also had the experience of knowing the gaps within large national retail pharmacy chains, in terms of the lack of collaboration and transparency with providers at health systems. It was an opportunity to get into this evolving space where you are part of the care team and the entire system is rowing the boat in the same direction (Had to throw that in there since our football coach at the U of Minnesota’s mantra is, ‘Row the Boat’).
Q: Tell us about your system’s specialty pharmacy. For example, how long have you have been operating, the size/number of patients you serve, etc?
A: Our system (Fairview Health Services) has had an integrated specialty pharmacy for over 20 years. On average, Fairview cares for more than 11,000 specialty pharmacy patients. We currently provide services and clinical management for every specialty pharmacy disease state and continue to break new ground in support of rare disease/s and our specialists that hail from the U of Minnesota.
Q: What made your system decide to establish its own specialty pharmacy?
A: Fairview’s decision to establish its own specialty pharmacy began with an ask from our Transplant program at the U of Minnesota. They needed partner support in caring for patients and improving the patient’s experience and outcomes
Q: Why did you join HOSP and how long have you been a member?
A: We (Fairview) joined HOSP as a founding member [in September 2020] when they formally established themselves as an advocacy organization. We felt it was important to have a non-profit trade organization that could represent the integrated specialty pharmacy model and be laser focused on that topic. There are many other great organizations we are involved with, but all of them have competing priorities within the organization. At HOSP, we are only focused on the integrated specialty pharmacy model. It is the best model for caring for patients, improving outcomes, improving our provider and clinic teams experience, and improving the patient experience.
Q: What do you think HOSP will do that other organizations cannot or won’t do?
A: I think the big advantage is HOSP will only focus on the integrated specialty pharmacy model. There isn’t another organization that can say that.
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges for this industry?
A: I believe the largest challenge for the specialty pharmacy industry is access to care for its own patients. It is the best model for patients, so why require patients to use another pharmacy where they won’t get the same experience or integrated care? If the patient is plugged into a care system, why not allow them to get all their care at the same system? To me it is a no brainer. For any of us, whether for ourselves or a loved ones who need care, it would be at an integrated specialty pharmacy that is part of the health system where the care is being delivered.
Q: Can you share an example of a patient story that demonstrates the value of serving them through your system’s own specialty pharmacy (versus a large/mail order specialty pharmacy)?
A: I could go on for days providing examples. But recently we had a patient waiting on a prescription with a large national pharmacy for two weeks. When our provider became aware of this situation, they pleaded with us to help. We were able to work with the provider and payer for an override and got the medication to the patient the same day. We often can get meds to the patient same day. This is simply something that national specialty pharmacies can’t do. This is unfortunately an all-too-common experience and situation that can easily be avoided with an integrated specialty pharmacy.
Q: What does the future look like for the integrated specialty pharmacy industry?
A: Bright. Very bright. And we also have some head winds. I believe more and more people and organizations are figuring out that this is the best model. This is a huge threat to the large national PBM owned SP model. They know their model is inferior, and they are looking for ways to mitigate what the health systems are doing. We need health systems to work collectively, and this highlights another reason why HOSP makes a lot of sense.
Interested in adding your pharmacy’s voice to our collective organization and being a creator of change? Learn more about membership in the HOSP Alliance or complete this form and we’ll be in touch.