NHIA: Unblur lines at upcoming conference

Friday, January 18, 2019

ORLANDO, Fla. – The lines between home infusion and specialty pharmacy are blurring and this year’s National Home Infusion Association Conference aims to bring some clarity to that trend, organizers say.

“A lot of specialty pharmacies are trying to get into home infusion and home infusion pharmacies are getting into specialty pharmacy,” said Jennifer Charron, vice president for clinical services at NHIA. “A lot of things are changing, with new technology and products coming into the space and so many new medications coming out.”

This year’s event is slated for March 9-13 in Orlando, Fla.

The educational programming brings back longtime favorites like roundtable sessions, as well as builds upon two certificate programs introduced last year: a sterile compounding clinic and home infusion nursing essentials, says Charron.

“The labs and the workshops will be held right in the classroom, with an easier flow through the lab stations,” she said. “They will also allow attendees to have more access to exhibitors.”

The conference also shines a light on issues making headlines in the broader medical world, including medical marijuana (”Medical Cannabis: Introduction and Evidence”) and the opioid crisis (“Effective Pain Management and Practical Considerations in the Era of the ‘Opioid Epidemic;’), says Charron.

“Medical cannabis is something that is happening in our space,” she said. “How do we manage patients who are on that? And the opioid epidemic is hitting hard in all states, but we have to have effective pain management for patients, while reducing future risk.”

Lines are blurring within the business side of home infusion, too, says Charron, particularly between sales and clinical care. Industry expert Louis Feuer will guide attendees through strategies to engage and recognize employees in his session, “Maximizing Your Operational Team Strengths to Develop and Maintain Positive Customer Relationships.”

“Everybody is a salesperson or a representative of the organization,” she said. “From the clinicians working with physicians to create the orders to the person who is handling the billing. What does that feel like and what are the ways to do it?”
A topic that’s woven throughout the conference is a new payment model for home infusion and a temporary transitional payment that went into effect Jan. 1, says Charron.

“We will provide an update on the current state of Medicare coverage and where we’d like to move it,” she said. “It’s a big thing for the industry to have some level of payment structure for patient services.”