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InSite Nurse

Skilled Nursing Facilities Seek Solutions to Address Medication Waste Management as Regulations are Implemented

Swisslog Healthcare addresses medication waste in long-term care settings through in-facility dispensing technology. 

Broomfield, CO (October 8, 2019) - Long-term care (LTC) facilities play a critical role in caring for the needs of a growing aging population with a lengthening lifespan. These dynamics are made increasingly complex by proposed changes to reimbursement for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), evolving relationships with acute care networks and medication waste management regulations. To address these challenges, long-term care facilities and pharmacies are partnering with Swisslog Healthcare to deliver in-facility dispensing technology that increases medication access, minimizes waste and increases resident safety.


On August 21, 2019, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s rule “Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals and Amendment to the P075 Listing for Nicotine” went into effect. In an effort to make drinking water safer, this regulation states that healthcare facilities are prohibited from disposing of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals down the drain.


The rule also now dictates that LTC facilities be included in the requirements of the new rule regarding the generation, management, storage, treatment and disposal of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals. LeadingAge indicates that the final rule also creates a new Subpart P in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The act gives the EPA authority to regulate the handling of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals.


Each year approximately $2 billion dollars are lost in the U.S. health care system due to disposing of unused oral solid medications in LTC facilities. This number continues to rise as demand increases in concert with the growing number and acuity of aging patients.


One of the primary causes of this pharmaceutical waste in long-term care facilities is overproduction. Most LTC patient medications arrive from an off-site pharmacy in the form of blister cards packaged in pre-set quantities. Each resident typically consumes only a portion of the entire blister card. This leaves nurses with additional documentation, security and regulatory processes to manage, resulting in wasted time, money and medications.


One of the more innovative ways long-term care pharmacies and facilities are working to minimize medication waste is through the utilization of in-facility medication packaging and dispensing systems. Using an in-facility system eliminates blister card waste altogether because it is designed to deliver “on demand” prescribed medications, which enables the exact dosage to be dispensed directly to the nurse, only when needed. This also eliminates the process of recording, storing and destroying medications.


A leading provider of in-facility packaging and dispensing systems, Swisslog Healthcare provides medication automation solutions to long-term care facilities enabling them to increase medication access, reduce waste and improve efficiencies. Swisslog Healthcare’s InSite® In-Facility Medication Packaging and Dispensing System makes it easy to manage prescription changes and improve medication availability in long-term care facilities.


“We understand the many challenges nursing facilities and staff face today. These facilities have a unique option to partner with Swisslog Healthcare to address the new requirement for managing hazardous medication waste by deploying the InSite system’s on-demand packaging technology, which drastically reduces waste compared to traditional dispensing models,” explains Huan Nguyen, R.Ph., Vice President, Long-Term Care Business Development.


Providers can see demonstrations of the InSite In-Facility Medication Packaging and Dispensing System in the Swisslog Healthcare booth at the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) Annual Conference in Orlando, FL, October 13-16, 2019 as well as at the LeadingAge Annual Meeting and Expo October 27-30, 2019 in San Diego, CA. 


For more information on Swisslog Healthcare or in-facility packaging and dispensing automation, visit


About Swisslog Healthcare


Swisslog Healthcare is a leading supplier of solutions and services for material transport and medication management. Swisslog Healthcare has installed facility-wide transport and pharmacy automation systems in more than 3,000 hospitals worldwide. The company offers integrated solutions from a single source – from consulting to design, implementation to lifetime customer service.


Swisslog Healthcare is a member of the KUKA Group, a leading global supplier of intelligent automation solutions.


Media Contact:

Amy Hinton

Solutions Manager – Pharmacy Automation


Phone: 303-229-3873