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Horizon Pharmacy Provides Healthy and Heartwarming Dose of Care during COVID-19

“Bless you. This is one less thing I have to worry about. I am dealing with a lot right now and it’s difficult not to be physically with other family members during the grieving process due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
   -Horizon BCBSNJ Member

If there’s one thing that the Pharmacy Team at Horizon BCBSNJ has been focusing on during the COVID-19 public health emergency, it’s giving members "one less thing to worry about."

Pharmacists play a critical role in the delivery of health care by meeting the daily demands of fulfilling patients’ medicinal needs, and providing support and information. The COVID-19 public health emergency put a heavy strain on the pharmacy system nationwide, including medicine shortages caused by the influx of patients in the health care system and demands for medications to treat COVID-19.

We are proud of the Horizon BCBSNJ pharmacists and ancillary staff who stepped up to help members get through the crisis by providing uninterrupted service and potentially life-saving support. From call centers and benefits analysis to business operations and technology systems, staff at all levels of the pharmacy team rallied together to keep up with daily volumes to ensure members get the care they need.

Horizon Pharmacy staff have been providing an extra, invaluable level of support to members outside of helping them manage and fill prescriptions—a listening ear. Taking time with members to build relationships and solve problems has offered emotional relief for many members who have been alone and isolated.

One member was not able to get the pain medications she needed or see her physicians due to the COVID-19 crisis until a pharmacy staff member stepped in.

“I wanted to just let you know that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life who had nowhere else to turn. I felt helpless until you gave me some hope to hold onto,” she said about the support she received.

Horizon BCBSNJ Clinical Pharmacist Rana Abdeljabbar, Pharm. D, tells of one call with a member that lasted for 90 minutes, and reminded her of why she became a pharmacist.

“Even though it was probably the longest call I have ever conducted, it really flew by because it truly helped the member,” Abdeljabbar said. “I made several interventions that he really appreciated. He said our conversation was probably the most meaningful one he has had with a health care professional in years. He called me again to express his gratitude.”

Additionally, the pharmacy team ramped up efforts to provide expected services to members—they regularly serve as the liaison between members and doctors, work with patient care teams to ensure continuity of care, connect patients with other care services and organizations and perform comprehensive medication reviews to create personal medication lists for members.

Even before the public health emergency, the Horizon Pharmacy team’s efforts were far reaching, helping to reduce costs for members, improve drug use and enhance patient care. As we move forward, the Pharmacy will continue to identify needs and prepare for the unexpected to make sure members always get the care they need, all while providing the most important medicine of all—compassion.