Rare accreditation for regional pharmacy chain

Prescription strength: Northwell Health's Vivo Health Pharmacy is one of only about 200 URAC-designated "specialty pharmacies" in the country.

Your local CVS may offer better deals on toothpaste, but a pharmacy chain operated by the Northwell Health system has earned a rare national distinction.

Vivo Heath Pharmacy, which operates in three Northwell Health facilities on Long Island and through a freestanding main branch in New Hyde Park, has earned full “specialty pharmacy” accreditation from the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission, an independent national nonprofit promoting better healthcare through education and standardized measurements.

Isn’t that special: Vivo Health Pharmacy’s rare accreditation lasts three years.

Specialty pharmacies” are equipped to service patients with “complex, chronic diseases,” according to the URAC website, and meet a number of strict criteria, including policies and procedures to ensure adherence to drug-safety protocols, rigorous prescription-fulfillment performance measures and mandatary reporting to the URAC, among others.

Less than 1 percent of all U.S. pharmacies – fewer than 220 total pharmacy operations – earn the URAC’s “specialty pharmacy” accreditation, according to Northwell Health, which noted Vivo Health Pharmacy’s “perfect scores for all standards.”

Onisis Stefas, Northwell Health’s vice president of pharmacy operations, called the URAC accreditation “the gold standard for specialty pharmacies” and said the three-year designation would strengthen Vivo Health Pharmacy’s relationships with manufacturers and insurers alike.

“This accreditation reinforces our dedication to providing high-quality care to our patients,” Stefas said Monday. “We are very proud that all four of our Vivo Health pharmacies received full URAC accreditation.”

Vivo Health Pharmacy has locations in North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, LIJ Medical Center in New Hyde Park and the Center for Advanced Medicine in Lake Success, in addition to the main Vivo Health Specialty Pharmacy on Lakeville Road in New Hyde Park. The pharmacy also operates a 24-hour clinical call center.

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