by Tim Koenig
As FlexCare adds more clinics and more patients, AssistPoint provides the efficiency to ensure managing patient affordability remains feasible
Working up patients for financial assistance has always been a priority for FlexCare Infusion Centers, which provides specialty infusion and injection services to patients with rare, chronic, and complex conditions.
“When a patient doesn’t get financial assistance to help with out-of-pocket costs, they’ll likely receive a bill for a high balance that may be difficult for them to pay—especially patients who need treatment as often as every 2 weeks, as many of our patients do,” says Heather Randel, Director of Revenue Cycle Management at FlexCare. “That’s why we try to work up everybody and find any assistance they might qualify for before they start on treatment. It covers the patients and it covers us, too.”
For years, the FlexCare team relied on a manual process for managing financial assistance, free drug, and other patient access services, creating spreadsheets and regularly visiting dozens of patient support program websites. It was time-consuming, but doable.
Until it wasn’t.
“In 2022, we experienced significant growth in terms of the number of clinics and, with that, the number of patients who needed to be worked up,” says Rick Yerondopoulos, Executive Vice President of Pharmacy at FlexCare. “We suddenly found our patient assistance process—our manual process with our spreadsheets—very inefficient. We were looking at having to hire additional staff and take on additional overhead costs in order to keep up.
“That was really the impetus for us to seek out some kind of automation. We started looking for a consolidated platform that could be used to manage assistance for a high volume of patients, and without the human errors of a spreadsheet. We knew there had to be a better way, and we knew we needed it.”
The search for a better way led FlexCare to demo software from several different vendors. There was a clear stand out: Annexus Health’s AssistPoint.
“We found AssistPoint had more features and was more user-friendly,” says Rick. “Plus the costs were much more reasonable with AssistPoint compared to the other products we looked at.”
Heather echoes Rick’s sentiments: “AssistPoint was the most user-friendly and the most cost-friendly. And we really needed it because as we kept adding more and more clinics, it was becoming impossible for us to have any sort of efficiency to be able to really do our job well and get copay through fast doing things manually.”
Once FlexCare decided to license AssistPoint, the Annexus Health team worked directly with their IT department to get the software platform integrated with their internal systems.
“The implementation process was smooth and seamless,” says Heather. “Everyone at Annexus Health was so kind and helpful and patient with us throughout. The training was broken down into different sessions that made it easier to digest versus having to learn everything all at once. Plus, they worked with our entire team to get us all onboarded rather than just making me or Rick a middleman. It all went very, very well.”
AssistPoint delivered immediate and dramatic results for FlexCare.
“We saw an instant return on our investment in that it saved us from having to fill an open full-time employee position, so AssistPoint paid for itself right there,” says Rick. “It’s also helping us capture additional growth by making our team as efficient as possible and making sure we get every financial resource to help our patients pay for their treatment.”
For the FlexCare team, AssistPoint has transformed the way they work.
“My favorite AssistPoint feature is the Assistance Watchlist,” says Heather. “When funding isn’t currently available to a patient, we can place them on the Assistance Watchlist and then it will let us know as soon as funding becomes available that the patient might be eligible for. I mean, that’s just huge! We used to spend so much time going to each individual program portal to check on whether or not they were open. And so often, the funds would close within just minutes of opening and our patients would miss out on that funding.”
In addition to patient-specific notifications for patients added to the Assistance Watchlist, Heather and her team also receive general fund status alerts through AssistPoint whenever a fund opens up so they can rapidly enroll any patients who may qualify.
“My computer might ‘ding’ a lot now, but I’m okay with that because it means that I can jump into AssistPoint and enroll my patients right away, and that’s what we’re here to do!” says Copay Manager Erika Brown. “Those alerts help our patients greatly, and they keep me from having to take time out of every day, multiple times a day, to go to each foundation website to see if anything has opened up.”
While Erika loves the fund status alerts, her favorite AssistPoint feature is automatic re-enrollments.
“All of us on the team were super excited when we learned about that,” she says. “We have so many patients and re-enrollments take a lot of time, so seeing them go through automatically is just amazing.”
Erika is happy to have left her old re-enrollment spreadsheet—along with the other spreadsheets that used to be a major part of her job—behind her.
“Having all the copay financial assistance programs centralized in one place with AssistPoint is fantastic,” she says. “Now we don’t have to go searching for everything every single time. It’s a lot more efficient.
“Another nice feature is the ability to track award balances. It’s always good to know when a patient is getting close to the end of their enrollment so we have an opportunity to look for another way to help them before their award runs out.”
Aside from the AssistPoint platform itself, FlexCare has been highly satisfied with the ongoing support they receive from Annexus Health, including regular check-ins from their account manager, quick and effective trouble-shooting for any issues that arise, and comprehensive training for new hires.
While the FlexCare team has benefitted from significant improvements to the way they work as a result of implementing AssistPoint, their patients are benefitting from more assistance opportunities.
“Our patients weren’t seeing all the work behind the scenes when we were doing things manually, and they don’t see how much easier and more efficient our process is now,” says Heather. “But AssistPoint makes it possible for us to provide our patients with the same quality of service as far as helping them get financial assistance that we were providing back when we were a smaller company with fewer clinics and fewer patients. In fact, we’re actually able to do a more thorough work up for each patient now than we could before. AssistPoint is everything we were hoping for and more.”
AssistPoint can transform your workflow and help ensure your patients can afford the care they need, too. Visit annexushealth.com/contact and complete a contact form to find out more.
About the contributor
Tim Koenig is Vice President of Marketing at Annexus Health. He has over 20 years of commercial experience in life sciences, within companies on the marketing agency side, as well as start-up biotech and large pharma. With his demonstrated history of driving growth, he ensures that all marketing strategies and communication efforts strengthen the organization’s market position and achieve desired results. Tim is passionate about making a meaningful difference in patients’ lives and uses this patient-centric mindset to translate intricate solutions into compelling and humanized narratives.