The Threats and Opportunities in Hospital Specialty Pharmacy

Addressing risks and understanding the benefits

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In the era of value-based care, health systems and hospitals face a host of unique challenges, including reducing the cost of care, improving clinical quality and increasing patient satisfaction. Providing well-managed specialty pharmacy services to patients who need those medications provides health care organizations with a unique set of benefits, including the increased access and improved care for patients requiring them. However, specialty pharmacy is challenging because of the high cost of specialty medications, complex compliance and administrative issues, and limited access to specialty drugs.

Whether your hospital has an established specialty pharmacy or is in need of one that it can own and operate, it’s important to understand how to access limited-distribution drugs and manage the complex administrative and accreditation challenges that come with specialty pharmacy. The result: higher clinical quality, greater efficiency and stronger cost controls.


  • The risks, challenges and opportunity in the complex specialty pharmacy ecosystem for hospitals and health systems.
  • How to address payor and pharma access issues; use technology to support specialty pharmacy patient management, clinical programs and 340B care coordination; and improve overall clinical value.

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Thought Leaders

Keith Cook
President of CPS Specialty and Ambulatory Services
Comprehensive Pharmacy Services
Keith Cook image

Keith Cook leads the Specialty and Ambulatory Division, as Division President at CPS.   

Keith obtained his BS in pharmacy from the University of Kansas.  He began his career in hospital pharmacy in Kansas and Missouri and later moved to retail pharmacy where he worked for the Pharmacy Division at Walmart for 23 years in multiple roles that included pharmacy manager, district manager, operations coordinator, director of the PBM business as well as supervising the mail order pharmacy and opening the Walmart specialty pharmacy. Rounding out his career at Walmart, he was the senior buyer for pharmacy consumer products for Sam’s Club.

Keith worked at Cardinal Health on the Medicine Shoppe and Medicap franchise businesses where his team was responsible for developing and implementing programs around diabetes, specialty pharmacy, long term care, consumer goods, and pharma sponsored programs.

In 2009, Keith relocated to Arizona to become the president of Avella specialty pharmacy where he oversaw the growth from a small regional player to one of the top 10 specialty pharmacies in the country.  

In 2015, Keith accepted a role as the vice president of specialty operations for MedImpact Healthcare Systems, a large privately held PBM based in San Diego. For the past four years, he has been focused on building a specialty pharmacy hub to support the specialty pharmacy needs of payers (employers and health plans) across the US.

In his free time, Keith likes to work (seriously), but when he is NOT working he enjoys hiking, cycling, mountain climbing, swimming, all things about the desert, snow skiing, water skiing, and Kansas basketball.   He is an avid international traveler and loves to spend time with his family.  He and his wife, Debra reside in Scottsdale, Arizona and he has a son and daughter residing in California and a daughter in Italy.

Michael Heinrichs, Pharm.D., MBA
Senior Vice President
Comprehensive Pharmacy Services
Michael Heinrichs, Pharm.D., MBA image

Michael is responsible for the business development of ambulatory and specialty pharmacy services for CPS across the U.S. and its territories. As a long tenured health system and pharmacy leader, Dr. Heinrichs has led pharmacy services across the entire pharmacy value stream from acute care through the entire ambulatory service sector. He has also been a health system executive leading complex clinical service lines including cardiology and digestive diseases. He is a recognized subject matter expert on specialty pharmacy and regularly speaks to healthcare executives on the importance of the entire specialty pharmacy ecosystem, the strategic value which specialty pharmacies play in the care of the patient, and the execution path that health systems should take to position their system as a specialty pharmacy provider. He holds a post-baccalaureate doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of Florida and a master in business administration from Western Governors University.