Optum Rx to partner with community pharmacies to address health disparities

Optum Rx is launching a new initiative aimed at using pharmacies to bridge healthcare gaps in rural and underserved communities. 

According to a May 30 news release, Optum Rx plans to launch the Pharmacy & Provider Desert Program in fall 2023, designed to connect Optum Rx members in areas with few providers to healthcare through community pharmacies. 

"These initiatives provide opportunities not only to help patients, but also to offer appropriate compensation that recognizes the clinical expertise and unique capabilities our community and independent pharmacy partners have to meet the needs of their patients," Heather Cianfrocco, CEO of Optum Rx, said in the release. 

Optum Rx will also roll out a program to connect people with diabetes and pregnant women to social resources through community pharmacies. The program will launch in June in North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Texas and Louisiana, and expand nationally in fall 2023. 

The PBM will also launch a maternal and fetal health program in July. 

Express Scripts launched a similar program in April, aimed at upping reimbursements for some rural pharmacies and reimbursing routine preventive care provided by pharmacists.

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