Frequently Asked Questions

UniteRx Support & Logistics

How will point-of-care dispensing benefit my patients?

The short answer is you will save your patients time and improve therapy adherence, which can contribute to better patient outcomes.

  • When asked, 75% of patients shared that they would prefer to get their prescriptions at their doctor’s office instead of a retail pharmacy.  Why?  Because they want to save time and avoid making a second stop on the way home and standing in a long line at the retail pharmacy. 
  • Second, compliance with drug therapy is 60% -70% better when medications are delivered at the point-of-care versus when patients must go to another location to fill a prescription. 

How much space is required for a point-of-care dispensary?

Minimal space is needed for your point-of-care dispensary, and UniteRx will work with you to determine the optimal space and location within your practice.  The physical space required varies based on the size of the practice, patient flow, and available space.  You will need space for:

  • A locked cabinet, as some medications are required to be in a locked cabinet in a locked room
  • A computer with a monitor, laser printer, and space for the pharmacy technician to fill and label prescriptions

Who can dispense medications in our office?  Will I need to hire additional staff?

In most states, a directive from the physician allows other staff members to dispense medications within the office; a few states require that the physician do the dispensing.  Check with your state’s pharmacy or medical board for details.  UniteRx will also work with you to determine the best option for managing and staffing your point-of-care dispensary.

Is the UniteRx U-fill software easy to use?  What training will be provided to my staff, and how long does the training take?

UniteRx U-fill dispensing software is user-friendly, requires minimal training and ensures accurate dispensing.  The software is currently used in more than 10,000 locations nationwide.  UniteRx will provide complete training, a dedicated account manager, on-site support for go-live, and a toll-free number for technical support during and after implementation.  Software features include:

  • A drug utilization review for possible contraindications, allergies, conditions, etc.
  • Generation of bottle-labeling and patient education printouts
  • Intuitive compilation and submission of state-mandated reporting

Is point-of-care dispensing efficient? How much time will it take a staff member or pharmacy technician to dispense medication?

The UniteRx U-fill dispensary is easily integrated into your existing office procedures and patient flow.  Filling a prescription generally takes 30 seconds to two minutes.

How much time does it take to enter a new patient into the database?

A new patient can be added in the 30 seconds to two minutes it takes to dispense the prescription.  Other demographic information is built into the system and can be entered at the time of dispensing or after the patient has left, if desired.

Does the UniteRx U-fill program have a patient database with dispensing history?

Yes, patients are entered into the database automatically when medication is dispensed in-office.  You are then able to pull reports on dispensing history, medication, date, etc. by patient. 

Whom do I call if I have questions about the U-fill software, medication delivery, dispensing, etc.?

UniteRx is client-focused and service-oriented before, during and after implementation.  Technical support is available at (855) 345-5791 or Pharmacy@UniteRx.com.  You will also be assigned a dedicated account manager that is committed to your success and will be with you every step of the way.

Revenue & Costs

How much will UniteRx point-of-care dispensing cost my practice?

Start-up costs for the UniteRx program are very low, regardless of the number of providers in the practice.  These start-up costs include everything you need to implement your point-of-care dispensing, including credentialing the practice to electronically process pharmacy claims through the appropriate insurance payers.  Our current clients have generally recouped start-up costs within 90 days of go-live.

What is the profit potential to my practice?

If your practice proactively promotes point-of-care dispensing to all patients and encourages use by providers and support staff, the revenue potential is significant.  For example, a single physician practice filling 30 prescriptions per day can generate incremental annual revenue of $100,000 or greater.  Contact UniteRx today for a customized analysis of your practice and the revenue potential.

Why have I not heard of point-of-care dispensing?  Is this concept new?

Point-of-care dispensing- also called physician in-office dispensing- has been around since physicians began practicing medicine; however, a reemergence occurred in the early 1980s.  Here’s a timeline of its evolution:

  • 1983: The retail pharmacy industry led a nationwide campaign to eliminate the physician’s right to dispense prescriptions. 
  • 1985: Congress passed legislation to secure a physician’s right to dispense FDA-approved medications to their own patients.
  • 1990s: Dispensing systems were in development to make the process fast, easy and cost-effective for physicians.
  • 2000s: Physician revenue is declining from historical sources. Declining reimbursements have forced physicians to see more patients for less time, resulting in decreased patient satisfaction and an increase in patients switching providers.  Physicians are more assertively seeking complimentary revenue sources such as point-of-care dispensing.

With UniteRx, physicians can let their patient know that the prescription just written can be filled on-the-spot at the physician’s office or the patient can make an extra stop at the retail pharmacy.  Either way, the patient can use their prescription insurance or pay cash for their prescription. 

The practice can now increase revenue; decrease costs by minimizing time spent calling and faxing retail pharmacies; and improve patient satisfaction and therapy adherence.

Which medications generate the most revenue for my practice?

Generally, a good mix of generic and brand medications offers the most profit potential and the greatest savings for patients.  UniteRx will work with you to develop formularies most appropriate for your practice and patient population.

Patient Insurance & Payment

Can I process Medicare and/or Medicaid claims?

Yes, if your state allows, or a Part D supplement and/or a third-party insurance payer such as Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), Caremark, Medco, etc. covers the claims.

Will the UniteRx system work for Workers’ Compensation cases?

Yes, you can dispense medications at point-of-care for patients under a Workers’ Compensation claim using the UniteRx U-fill system.

What if patients ask about our pricing vs. a retail pharmacy?  Are co-pays the same?

The UniteRx U-fill system communicates with pharmacy benefit managers (i.e. prescription insurance) using the same technology as retail pharmacies.  Therefore, you will receive instant electronic confirmation of eligibility, and reimbursement information, and the patient’s co-pay for generic or brand medications is the same, regardless of where the prescription is filled.

Can we only dispense to patients with a prescription benefits card?

While UniteRx offers and recommends that our adjudication software program be used, you can dispense medications to cash-paying patients using the UniteRx U-fill system.  Patients can elect to not use their prescription insurance and pay 100% out-of-pocket; all dispensing requirements and regulations still apply. 

Can I use manufacturer cash offset and accept co-pay assist cards (i.e. manufacturer-sponsored trial and/or adherence programs)?

The UniteRx U-fill adjudication software allows you to use manufacturer cash offset and co-pay assistance cards and programs in the same way each is used by a retail pharmacy.

Medication Ordering & Pricing

How do we determine what medications we should dispense and how much to order?

We suggest that initially you stock one to two weeks’ supply of your top 20-30 prescribed medications; this initial formulary is conservative and can be adjusted.  Any FDA-approved drug can be ordered including injectables and over-the-counter medications. The U-fill system will track all dispenses over time to more accurately determine which medications you are using most to ensure appropriate inventory levels and adjust the practice’s formulary - even seasonally.

Does the UniteRx U-fill program have an inventory tracking process?

Yes.  The UniteRx U-fill program will automatically alert you when a medication is below pre-set inventory levels.  Your pre-set inventory levels are specific to your practice, and UniteRx will work with you to determine and adjust these levels as needed.  

Drug Manufacturers & Programs

Why should I purchase only FDA-approved medications from manufacturers vs. repackaged medications?

State and Federal regulations mandate that dispensing is allowed through a physician practice only if the medications are properly packaged and labeled.  Products must comply with federally-mandated Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) as noted in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulation. Non-compliance with these laws could render the medication as “adulterated” and/or “misbranded;” dispensing an adulterated or misbranded drug to a patient is a federal crime.  Medications coming directly from the manufacturer have a minimal risk of adulteration or misbranding.

Can I use manufacturer cash offset and accept co-pay assist cards (i.e. manufacturer-sponsored trial and/or adherence programs)?

The UniteRx U-fill adjudication software allows you to use manufacturer cash offset and co-pay assistance cards and programs in the same way each is used by a retail pharmacy.

What happens if the drug manufacturer issues a product recall?

The UniteRx U-fill software will alert you to any manufacturer product recalls and can help you quickly identify any patients to whom you have prescribed the recalled medication.

Regulatory & Licensing

Is physician point-of-care dispensing legal?

This question is the #1 concern of physicians, and yes, point-of-care dispensing is legal.  Under the Stark Law, physician dispensing is acceptable when dispensing is limited to the physician’s own patients within the practice environment, and the medications meet FDA guidelines for repackaging and labeling.  Only five states have more restrictive laws- Massachusetts, Montana, New York, Texas and Utah; in these states, point-of-care dispensing is allowed but limited.

Does the UniteRx point-of-care dispensing comply with state and federal drug dispensing regulations?

Yes, the UniteRx U-fill dispensing program complies with state and federal requirements.

What is the Stark Law, and how does it impact me if I implement point-of-care dispensing?

Stark Law pertains to physician self-referral for Medicare and/or Medicaid patients.  Point-of-care dispensing is one of the in-office ancillary services that is exempt from this status.  The “in-office ancillary services exception” of the Stark Law permits physician owners of a medical group and other members of the group to refer patients to their group for certain Designated Health Services (DHS); an outpatient prescription drug given in the physician’s office but taken by the patient at home is covered under the in-office ancillary services exception.

Can I process Medicare and/or Medicaid claims?

Yes, if your state allows, or a Part D supplement and/or a third-party insurance payer such as Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), Caremark, Medco, etc. covers the claims.

Will the UniteRx system work for Workers’ Compensation cases?

Yes, you can dispense medications at point-of-care for patients under a Workers’ Compensation claim using the UniteRx U-fill program.

Does the physician need a special license to dispense medications in-office?

Most states do not require anything beyond your existing DEA and state license to dispense medications; a few states have a designated dispensing license, which is offered at a minimal cost.  UniteRx will work with you to ensure you have the proper licensure to participate in your state.

Why should I purchase only FDA-approved medications from manufacturers vs. repackaged medications?

State and Federal regulations mandate that dispensing is allowed through a physician practice only if the medications are properly packaged and labeled.  Products must comply with federally-mandated Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) as noted in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulation. Non-compliance with these laws could render the medication as “adulterated” and/or “misbranded;” dispensing an adulterated or misbranded drug to a patient is a federal crime.  Medications coming directly from the manufacturer have a minimal risk of adulteration or misbranding.

Risks & Liabilities

Will point-of-care dispensing increase my malpractice premium?

Whether a physician prescribes medications filled at a retail pharmacy or the prescription is filled at the practice, the physician’s responsibility is the same.  In our experience, malpractice carriers do not charge higher rates for dispensing physicians.

What liability does the physician practice assume with point-of-care dispensing?

The liability for point-of-care dispensing mirrors that of writing a prescription to be filled at a retail pharmacy.  Stringent guidelines exist for packaging and labeling of FDA-approved medications, and the UniteRx U-fill program meets these requirements at state and federal levels.

Why should I purchase only FDA-approved medications from manufacturers vs. repackaged medications?

State and Federal regulations mandate that dispensing is allowed through a physician practice only if the medications are properly packaged and labeled.  Products must comply with federally-mandated Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) as noted in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulation. Non-compliance with these laws could render the medication as “adulterated” and/or “misbranded;” dispensing an adulterated or misbranded drug to a patient is a federal crime.  Medications coming directly from the manufacturer have a minimal risk of adulteration or misbranding.

Should I be concerned about medication theft?

The UniteRx U-fill dispensing process includes password protection, an automatic inventory system, and dispensing records of who dispensed, all of which make theft difficult to hide.  Every container of medications is accounted for in the inventory system, and the reports enable staff to easily and quickly identify a problem.