CVS Launches New Adherence Program for Patients with Multiple Prescriptions

CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today announced the launch of ScriptSync™, a new pharmacy service that enables patients with multiple medications to pick up their eligible maintenance prescriptions in a monthly CVS/pharmacy visit. In addition, patients or caregivers can manage their ScriptSync prescriptions 24/7 using innovative online support tools. By aligning prescription fill schedules for patients, CVS Health aims to make it easier and more convenient for patients to take their medications as prescribed. ScriptSync is currently available in all CVS/pharmacy stores and will be available through CVS/caremark Mail Service Pharmacy in 2016.

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Source: PR Newswire

‘Penny-wise, Pound-foolish’ Approach May Up Costs in Diabetes

Among US Medicare beneficiaries with type 2 diabetes, out-of-pocket expenses diminish adherence to medication and may end up increasing overall healthcare costs in the long run, a new study finds.

The results, from an analysis of Medicare claims data for 2006–2009, were presented by research economist Joanna P MacEwan, PhD, of Precision Health Economics, Oakland, California, here at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 2015 Scientific Sessions.

The findings indicate that what Medicare may believe it is saving by having patients pay high copays could end up costing it more for other medical expenses.

“While increased cost-sharing may lower pharmacy costs, it may also decrease adherence and raise total expenditures,” Dr MacEwan said in her introduction.

She told Medscape Medical News, “Elderly patients are sensitive to treatment costs, and their adherence may decline if the addition of new drugs or rising cost of current therapies increases their out-of-pocket spending, and poor adherence is associated with higher medical costs.

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Source Medscape

FDA studying how generics’ size, shape and color impact medication adherence

When it comes to medication adherence, issues like side effects, cost and ease of intake are most commonly cited issues for noncompliance. But what about the drug’s appearance?

The Food and Drug Administration is studying how a drug’s color, shape and size impact a patient’s likelihood to remain on a treatment regimen, Alexander Gaffney of RAPS reports.

The agency just approved a new study, called “Pharmacists and Patients; Variations in the Physical Characteristics of Generic Drug Pills and Patients’ Perceptions.” The FDA writes:

When pharmacists switch generic drug suppliers, patients refilling their generic prescriptions may therefore experience changes in their drugs’ appearances. These changes may result in patient confusion and concerns about the safety and effectiveness of the generic drug products. Studies indicate that patients are more likely to stop taking their generic medications when they experience a change in their drugs’ physical appearances, leading to harmful clinical and public health consequences as well as increased health care costs from avoidable morbidity and mortality.”

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Source MedCity News

Align My Refills- an APhA Campaign to Promote Medication Synchronization

Approximately 125,000 deaths occur annually due to people not taking their medication as prescribed. We are pleased to share a new public education campaign from the American Pharmacists Association Foundation (APhA Foundation) called Align My Refills. It teaches patients and caregivers how to engage with pharmacists through medication synchronization (med sync) programs to improve medication use and achieve better health outcomes.

Med sync programs help patients improve their knowledge and ability to take their medication as prescribed – lessening the risk of missed doses, and providing a monthly opportunity to meet with their pharmacist to discuss their medications. Med sync programs are especially beneficial for someone who takes multiple, ongoing monthly medications, or is new to chronic drug therapy. The APhA Foundation website AlignMyRefills.com includes resources that can be shared with patients to help them learn more about med sync and find a pharmacy near them offering the service.APhA_infographic(1)

Report Offers Democratic Governors Options For Improving Medication Adherence

A report prepared for the Democratic Governors Association suggests policy options for getting Medicaid beneficiaries to take their medicine that include managing medication, coordinating prescription refills, allowing more time between refills and generally teaching people why they should do what their doctor tells them. The recommendations primary apply to Medicaid, but they could also apply to state employee health plans and exchange insurance, the report states.

The paper states that it’s key to use medication therapy management only on those patients who need it. CMS recently scrapped a proposal to expand MTM in Medicare in part because plans complained that they would lose money if forced to contact enrollees who don’t need the service. The medication-adherence coalition Prescriptions for a Healthy America is now working on a legislative proposal aimed at better targeting people who need MTM.

That coalition – which includes pharmaceutical, chain drug store and pharmaceutical benefit manager members — also contributed to the paper prepared for the Democratic governors. That paper says “super user” programs could offer MTM to the approximately 5 percent of beneficiaries who are in those programs. It points out that an evaluation of 14 super-user programs found that teaching medication adherence is a key feature in all of those programs so it’s a natural step to go further with MTM. There also are 20 states with MTM programs that others states could look to, according to the paper. Read more >>

Source Inside Health Policy

Improved Medication Adherence is Major Opportu nity for Change in State Healthcare Systems

White Paper Details Strategic Approach to Improve Health at Lower Costs

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD), along with Prescriptions for a Healthy America and My Campaign Group, has released a white paper on one of the many challenges facing our health care system – medication adherence and how to empower people to more effectively and efficiently manage their chronic conditions. Prepared for the Democratic Governors Association, Bending the Healthcare Cost Curve through Better Medication Adherence for People Suffering from Chronic Disease, provides a series of cost-saving policy options focused on caring for the significant and growing number of Americans coping with chronic conditions by enabling people to achieve better health outcomes at lower costs through medication adherence.

Lack of adherence to recommended medications to treat chronic illness is driving up healthcare costs and hurting the U.S. economy. Lack of adherence to medication is estimated to cause approximately 125,000 deaths and at least 10 percent of hospitalizations. While non-adherence costs the U.S. healthcare system between $100 billion and $289 billion annually, improved adherence to diabetes medications alone could avert 699,000 emergency department visits and 341,000 hospitalizations annually, resulting in savings of approximately $4.7 billion. Read More>>

 

Panel: Medication adherence may help control Medicaid costs

A pharmacist by trade, Sen. Billy Beasley, D-Clayton, told a panel gathered in a House committee room of a customer he had that wasn’t taking his medication correctly, despite clear labels.

“Unfortunately, he couldn’t read or write,” Beasley said at a committee meeting Tuesday. “When I discovered that, he said, ‘We’re going to have to fix you up a medicine tray.’ He had no health issues, but he did better.”

Encouraging more consistent use of medication was the focus of the panel, brought together under Prescriptions for a Healthy America and the Script Your Future Campaign, which are trying to encourage better medication adherence.

According to Prescriptions for Healthy America, 125,000 Americans die each year because they fail to take their medication or fail to take it properly. The group estimates that $290 billion a year is spent on health care each year due to complications arising from individuals not taking medication correctly. Read more >>

Source Montgomery Advertiser

P4HA in AL: Alabama officials look at ways to get medication taken properly by patients

With many people not taking medications as prescribed, health care experts are turning to everything from financial incentives to text messages to get patients to follow their doctors’ orders.

National health care organizations, state officials and others gathered at the Legislature on Tuesday to share ideas about improving medication adherence and controlling health care costs.

Joel White, executive director of the Council for Affordable Health Coverage, said national surveys have shown that two-thirds of patients don’t take their medications as prescribed, and more than one-fifth of new prescriptions are never filled.

“Pills don’t work unless you take them,” he said. Read more >>

Source The Republic

To Pay For Medicare SGR Repeal, Build On Bipartisan Health Care Policy

by: John Rother, Joel White, and David Kendall

Something unexpected is happening in Washington. As most eyes track partisan battles over immigration and the Affordable Care Act, key Congressional committees have been quietly advancing truly bipartisan legislation to strengthen Medicare.

Since 2002, an outdated Medicare cost control called the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) has repeatedly threatened drastic Medicare provider cuts. After a decade of temporary fixes, SGR repeal appears within reach. A bipartisan, bicameral agreement by key Congressional leaders announced on February 6, 2014 goes a step further by pairing repeal with bipartisan reforms that pay physicians for the quality and value of care they deliver, not the number of tests and procedures they order. Read more >>

Source Health Affairs

Senators Put Medication Adherence Front and Center at Q + A

U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse joined a panel discussion and Q&A on medication adherence, urging the public to take the issue seriously as a threat to public health.

The Senators and other esteemed panelists explored the critical nature of medication adherence, both from the standpoint of public health as well as for individual patients. The event brought together leading thinkers and state officials as well as patient advocates, providers and pharmacy experts. Read more>>

Source GoLocal Prov

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