GIC’s Newest Commissioner is a Proponent of Wellness and Coordinated Care to Help Control Rising Prescription Drug Costs

“Prescription drugs improve people’s lives and ultimately help decrease health care costs,” says the GIC’s newest Commissioner, Valerie Sullivan.  She acknowledges that rising prescription drug costs pose a challenge for the Commission and its members as Wall Street puts pressure on pharmaceutical companies to perform well for stockholders.  In her over 25 year career in the pharmaceutical industry, Commissioner Sullivan has helped patients navigate their benefits and other available programs to get access to expensive prescription drugs.  “The Commission must continue to encourage members to exercise and eat right to help control costs as well as work with physician and hospital providers to help bring costs down,” she says.

The GIC’s work on the Centered Care initiative for better coordinated care and copay incentives to use less expensive hospitals will help maintain comprehensive prescription drug benefits according to Commissioner Sullivan.  “Teaching hospitals are terrific, but more convenient and less expensive care for routine care is available right in the local community, she says.  “Retail clinics and urgent care centers are a great option for urgent, non-emergency care, and members have attractive copays for these alternatives to the emergency room.”

As a long-time team leader at Pfizer followed by executive roles at a specialty pharmacy benefit manager and pharmacy patient access company, she also believes patients need to know their numbers including weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.  “It’s hard to change behavior, but patients need to be their own health care advocate - eating right, knowing their insurance benefits, exercising, and not deferring care until an issue becomes an emergency. GIC members have access to tools that patients across the country don’t have including reasonable copays, clear benefit communications, a customer service unit, and health fairs,” she says.

Commissioner Sullivan served on the selection committee for new Executive Director, Roberta Herman, M.D., and says “As a physician operations executive at a prestigious health plan, and community health leader, Dr. Herman is very qualified and knowledgeable. She has big shoes to fill, but she has an opportunity to build on Dolores L. Mitchell’s work and go places where the Commission has never been before, supported by a very strong staff. I am looking forward to working with her.” Welcome Commissioner Sullivan!

This information provided by the Group Insurance Commission .