CompleteRx: Terry Andrus, Founder & President

by HCE Exchange on August 19, 2010

Founded in 1998, CompleteRx is a leading provider of pharmacy management services for acute care hospitals.The company services hospitals across the US and not only guarantees service for regulatory compliance, nursing satisfaction and education, but also takes the responsibility of assuming
the financial risk to deliver cost savings at each location.

From simple origins..

The origins of CompleteRx are rooted in chance circumstance, but were always inspired by the needs of today’s hospitals.  Founder and President Terry Andrus had previously worked for Owen Health Care, but his division had been eliminated when the organization was purchased by Cardinal Health.  Andrus was beginning his own retail business until one day a friend called and asked Andrus if he could provide pharmacy services for a small hospital. “Being an entrepreneur I said ‘yes.’  But I also said it was going to take significant capital and a good team to make this thing work.”  Andrus’ friend assured him not to worry about the money, but to organize a team. “Whenever anyone says don’t worry about the money, you worry about the money,” recalls Andrus with a chuckle.

“We learned early on to operate on a shoestring budget.”  This conservative method has benefited the company in the long run, as currently CompleteRx carries no operational debt.  “We manage our business pretty closely and don’t put ourselves in the position of significant risk or debt.”  In addition to hospital pharmacy management services, Andrus formed two additional companies: Complete Pharmacy Resources, a temporary staffing service and Remote PharmAssist, a remote order entry service for hospital pharmacies.

In the 11 years CompleteRx has been in business, it has grown from beginning revenues of $25,000 to today’s current figure of $150 million.  The company now operates in eight states, with 700+ full and part-time employees.  For the eighth consecutive year, the organization has been named one of the fastest growing businesses in Houston, as well as placed in the Inc. 5000 Business list for the past two years, with Andrus receiving the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award as well.

Staffing solutions

Just because the business has had outstanding success and growth doesn’t mean the leadership isn’t faced with challenges.  “Right now the thing everyone in healthcare is dealing with is the shortage of healthcare professionals, especially in the pharmacy role.”  In fact, Andrus reports there are nearly 20,000 openings in this field.  CompleteRx has combated this figure by making sure that once they secure quality people to work for the organization, they make certain they keep them.  That’s evident by the less than four percent turnover rate for both voluntary and involuntary separations.  “I think this is because we have a very well-defined human capital strategy.  We’ve implemented a covenant between leadership and employees and we use employee surveys that help us gain feedback and make improvements.”

CompleteRx has not only been able to attract and retain employees, the business has been able to offer a novel solution to pharmacist shortages at hospitals.  The Remote PharmAssist business has proven especially valuable for locations that have recruitment difficulty.  Remote order entry services give hospitals a more efficient manner of doing business by eliminating distractions found in on-site positions, and allowing pharmacists on-site to be more closely involved in patient care.

Clear savings for hospitals

“Hospitals right now are looking to cut costs, and the pharmacy is a pretty expensive part of a hospital operation which makes our business model very appealing.”  Andrus says that CompleteRx is most proud of its guaranteed savings contracts with hospitals.  “It’s a model that generates savings from the very first day we start service.  It’s a flat capitated model and our pharmacy costs come in below the hospital’s costs.  For every patient that walks through their door, the hospital is saving money over what they were previously paying.”  In addition, Andrus adds that CompleteRx offers guaranteed Joint Commission compliance and nursing satisfaction, so while patients are receiving better care and the hospital is paying less, nurses are happy and Joint Commission is satisfied.

To improve patient care and keep costs down for hospitals, CompleteRx has taken numerous steps to ensure quality and encourage growth initiatives, many of which are grounded in technological advancements.  Drug intervention tracking software allows the business to monitor and make global changes while a company-wide drug purchase and utilization review software that was developed in-house by CompleteRx aids in the process along with acuity index software that allows CompleteRx to determine the appropriate resources for each facility. There is also a corporate intranet site where employees can blog and chat online with each other to share ideas, online competencies which eliminates the need to store paper test archives, and teleconference/webinar software that improves communication capabilities between employees scattered among their various locations.

Extreme makeover

Simply put, CompleteRx gives hospitals the opportunity to completely overhaul their pharmacy departments in one step, rather than incrementally over time which is a costly process.  “With CompleteRx, change is a quantum leap process that delivers instant results.   We’ve been in hundreds of hospitals and have the ability to make quick dramatic changes.”  Andrus says one other distinction between CompleteRx and traditional consultants, is that with consultants, hospitals are simply receiving advice on what needs to be done, whereas CompleteRx comes in and implements those changes.  Between driving costs down, closing the gaps in pharmaceutical staffing, being on the cutting edge of software utilization, and offering a desirable workplace, CompleteRx has shown that it is a business focused on providing pharmacy strategies that fit perfectly with the needs of hospitals.

-by Jacqueline Rupp

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Roger Burwell December 19, 2013 at 9:56 pm

Great business model Terry ! Hope all is going well .Roger Sherril

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