I arrived at the office on monday morning to a company wide announcement from our CEO, Greg Wasson. Apparently, Walgreens has decided to end its business relationship with rival company CVS/Caremark and no longer accept any new or newly renewed plans associated with the PBM (Prescription Benefit Manager). You can read the press release here. This essentially affects most CVS and Caremark employees who are covered under work benefits, but also affects any private prescription drug plan who uses CVS/Caremark as their benefit manager (which I just happen to have since my mother is an employee of Caremark). Short term, nothing will change, as all current contracts that are affected will continue to be accepted until the contract with the benefit manager is renewed, which usually occurs in three year cycles. Long term, once contracts are renewed behind the scenes with these plans by both the insured parties and the employers providing these services, Walgreens will no longer be able to bill these insurances if the company remains behind this decision, which it probably will. All the divisions in my department (Pharmacy Affairs, Third Party, and Quality Assurance) had a meeting with our director on Monday morning to discuss the implications of this decision and how we should handle customer relations with those who are not currently affected but may be in the future.
Today was also an interesting day because the four interns were taken to lunch by the Vice President of Pharmacy Operations. There really was not much of a purpose behind the lunch, just an introductory and a get to know each other occasion. We went to a really nice restaurant called J Alexanders located not far from our corporate campus, which served single portion sizes that could probably feed five. All the corporate interns (not just pharmacy) will also be entering a competition starting next week where we will be broken into teams and be assigned case studies and projects. The winning team also gets a lunch or dinner with the CEO, so here’s hoping for a win on that front!
After lunch, I was invited by my mentor to attend an ideation meeting. I had met with the same group, made up of various project managers and department managers, for other meetings, but this was the first informal setting where each manager or department representative would share new ideas to help make our pharmacy computer systems better or fixes to comply with new legislature. Walgreens usually releases a few new upgrades every year for their system, so this group also decides which updates are put into each release since limited resources exist and not every project can be incorporated. It’s really impressive seeing board meetings like this take place, as most of the people in the room are by far some of the smartest and most innovative people working for the company.
To have a little fun, last night I hopped a train downtown to see She & Him play a free concert in Millennium park (think Central Park but Chicago). She & Him are made up of Zooey Deschanel and M Ward. Both are amazingly talented, and you may recognize Zooey who played Summer in the movie (500) Days of Summer (See it if you haven’t – I highly recommend it). Every Monday there is a free concert in the park featuring independent musicians, so next week I plan on seeing Great Lake Swimmers perform (and once again, it’s completely free!). Below, I finally took some photos to incorporate and share with you guys of both the concert and downtown scene. The rest of this week I’ll be finishing up my work in Pharmacy Affairs, spending Thursday with some state managers who focus on legislation, and then transitioning into Retail Clinical Services. I’ll update you guys with how that transition goes early next week.