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Liberty Lake loses 100 more jobs, as Express Scripts shifts its focus

Express Scripts Inc., a national pharmacy benefits manager, is cutting back its Liberty Lake workforce by 100 jobs, but plans to leave 200 others in place.

This is the second major job reduction in Liberty Lake announced this week. Earlier, Utah-based Vivint said it will close down its Liberty Lake call center, cutting an unspecified number of positions.

Express Scripts' Liberty Lake office, at 23102 E. Appleway, has been an intake or front-end pharmacy center since the 1990s. Express Scripts, based in St. Louis, acquired it in 2012 by buying the assets of Medco Health Solutions, the original pharmacy benefits manager in that building.

Express Scripts negotiates drug prices for large employers and major health insurers and fills orders for their members and employees.
Express Scripts is the largest pharmacy benefits manager in the country, with 29,000 workers nationwide.

Announced earlier this year, its corporate restructuring will convert the Liberty Lake operation from an intake pharmacy to a customer prescription and insurance-coverage review center.  As a result it will need fewer workers, said spokesman Brian Henry.
Starting Monday instead of having 45 registered pharmacists, Liberty Lake will have 36 pharmacists, along with roughly 164 other workers.

Front-end pharmacies receive prescriptions faxed or emailed in bulk from insurance providers, government agencies and others. Those high-volume prescriptions were verified and processed, followed by workers transmitting the prescriptions to company fulfillment centers.

Workers at those sites shipped the prescription drugs to patients across the country.

Preparing for the shift two months ago, the company offered 200 of its 300 Liberty Lake employees jobs within the new division or taking a severance offer. About 100 took a severance package, Henry said.

The other 100 who didn't take the severance will fill similar or different positions in the newly realigned coverage-review unit, he said.

Some of those jobs being cut include prescription processors, pharmacy service representatives, and account management specialists.
The 100 workers who were not offered severance are not affected by the change, Henry noted. They include IT staff, administrative employees, data entry specialists, maintenance teams and others who manage the building.

Henry said the Liberty Lake site could eventually regain the nine pharmacists who have left, plus some or all of the 100 workers who accepted severance.

The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.