Innovators of Home Infusion: Michael Rigas, Pharm.D.
Prepare to be inspired by our newest interview featuring Michael Rigas, Pharm.D., a remarkable Innovator of Home Infusion! With extensive industry experience spanning decades, Dr. Rigas generously shares his valuable insights and expertise on the future of home infusion. Don't miss out on his inspiring journey and invaluable advice.
We're excited to announce our next Innovator of Home Infusion, Michael Rigas, Pharm.D.! Dr. Rigas was the Chief Clinical Officer, co-founder, and principal at KabaFusion, a nationwide infusion therapy Company started in 2010. He has been in the home infusion industry since 1992 and is now retired. Currently he volunteers for several patient support non-profit organizations, lectures at four schools of pharmacy, and provides consulting services. After being recognized as one of this year's NHIA Fellows, we knew we had to reach out and hear about his experience in the industry! Here's what he had to say:
How did you first get into the home infusion industry?
I entered the home infusion industry in 1992 while working as an on-call pharmacist at OptionCare Pharmacy in Arroyo Grande, CA. At the time, I was serving as the director of pharmacy at a nearby hospital. However, I desired to purchase my first new car, and my wife insisted that I needed to increase my income to afford it. Consequently, I took on the job at OptionCare. Then in a year, I quit the hospital and became full-time at OptionCare.
How has the home infusion industry changed since you first started?
A lot has changed in the home infusion industry since I first started, including advancements in available drugs, expanded treatment options for various diseases, changes in licensing and accreditation requirements, increased focus on combating fraud, waste, and abuse, and the challenges posed by the managed care insurance industry.
What is one thing you would change about the current state of home infusion? Why?
One thing I would change about the current state of home infusion is the level of respect and understanding given to the importance of home infusion therapy by Medicare, Medicaid, and managed care organizations. It is crucial for these entities to recognize the value and impact of home infusion in order to provide better access and support for patients in need in a cost effective manner.
What kind of an impact do you hope to have on the home infusion industry?
Having recently retired after 40 years as a pharmacist, with 10 years in the hospital setting and 30 years in the home infusion therapy (HIT) field, I believe I have already made my impact. However, currently, I am dedicated to volunteering for several patient support non-profit organizations, aiming to assist patients and caregivers in effectively managing complex and costly drug therapies. Additionally, I provide consultation services to various companies and lecture at four schools of pharmacy. Through these efforts, I strive to contribute to a better future for patients based on the knowledge and experiences gained throughout my career.
In what ways have the Pioneers of Home Infusion strengthened the industry in your perspective and why?
I consider myself and my colleagues as pioneers in the field of home infusion. In my view, we have strengthened the industry by establishing and implementing clinical, financial, operational, and outcome-based standards. These standards were crucial for an industry that was still in its infancy when I began my journey in 1992.
How has the National Home Infusion Association (NHIA) guided your path to success?
NHIA has been an invaluable guiding force throughout my career, providing support and guidance as the industry evolved from its early stages to its current state today. The resources, knowledge-sharing, and networking opportunities offered by NHIA have been instrumental in shaping my path to success.
What does being recognized as an NHIA Fellow mean to you?
Being recognized as an NHIA Fellow holds immense significance for me. It represents the culmination of my career and acknowledges the dedicated efforts I put forth in improving the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients over the span of 40 years.
Dr. Rigas, who is now retired, has held significant roles in the home infusion industry. He served as the Chief Clinical Officer, co-founder, and principal at KabaFusion, a nationwide infusion therapy company established in 2010. KabaFusion focuses on managing IVIG, other chronic, and acute therapies across the country.
Before his involvement with KabaFusion, Dr. Rigas joined Geisinger Health System in 2008 as the Associate Chief Innovation Officer for Pharmaceutical Care and Chief Clinical Officer for VITALine CareSite Pharmacy Services.
Prior to his tenure at Geisinger, he served as the Senior Vice President of Clinical Affairs at Crescent HealthCare in Anaheim, California. Crescent HealthCare is a prominent alternate site pharmacy company specializing in infusion and specialty pharmacy therapies.
Dr. Rigas earned his Pharm.D. degree from USC School of Pharmacy and completed his residency at UC San Francisco Hospitals and Clinics in 1982. He spent the initial 10 years of his career as the Chief Clinical Pharmacist in three different community hospitals with over 200 beds. From 1998 to 2002, Dr. Rigas held a Vice President position, overseeing pharmacy and nursing operations for Apria Healthcare, with 32 pharmacies across 22 states.
His areas of expertise encompass antimicrobial therapy, immunoglobulin therapies, nutritional support, inotropic therapies, pain control, enhancing clinical and financial outcomes, and managing payer and contract relations. Dr. Rigas is actively involved in the fields of high-cost biologic/specialty pharmacy and infusion. He has contributed to standardized coding for infusion billing, advocated for universal access through Patient Assistance Plans, and addressed Medicare Part D issues before the California Board of Pharmacy and CMS regional managers. Dr. Rigas is a member of the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists, the National Home Infusion Association (NHIA), the American Academy of Neurology, and the Clinical Immunology Society.