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Practice Transformation

The COVID-19 vaccines will arrive before interoperability will. That may not be a surprise, but it is a concern. It means the digital connectivity needed to closely track doses, side effects and continuing infections is still lagging behind, STAT reports. The U.S. Digital Service recently reported that site visits to public health agencies revealed a heavy reliance on paper documents and fax machines to collect and share data on COVID-19 tests. (STAT)
A new report from the Primary Care Collaborative found a decline in primary care spending between 2017 and 2019. When considering only those services rendered by physicians, primary care spending accounted for 4.67% of overall commercial insurance spending in 2019, vs. 4.88% in 2017. When accounting for primary care services rendered by physician assistants, nurse practitioners and physicians, overall spending in the specialty still dropped from 7.8% to 7.69% over the period. The findings from the report are in line with other recent literature, Modern Healthcare reports. (Modern Healthcare*)

Evidence & Innovation

The first blood test to help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease has made it to market. Such a test has long been needed. It could make it easier for people to learn whether they have the condition, but what are the implications? Experts are concerned because key test results have not been published and the test has not been approved by FDA—it’s being sold under more general rules for commercial labs. The test is not a screening tool; it’s for those 60+ already being evaluated for Alzheimer’s. (AP)
Katherine Capps and Molly Ekstrand, BPharm, both of the GTMRx Institute, recently outlined four health IT categories to achieve medication optimization through comprehensive medication management (CMM); they go into detail on each: clinical decision support tools at the point of care; population health and risk stratification tools; patient engagement and care coordination tools; and health IT supporting economic, clinical and humanistic outcomes. (Pharmacy Technology Report)

Policy Solutions

The Trump administration plans to end the 2006 Unapproved Drug Initiative (UDI); this closes a loophole that cost billions annually and led to shortages. Many pharmaceuticals used today entered the market before 1938, the year the FDA implemented safety reviews. UDI required manufacturers to pull these drugs and prove their safety to the FDA. The first company to gain approval of a previously unapproved drug could earn up to seven years of patent protection. This led to “artificial monopolies” and drug shortages, according to Health and Human Services. For example, five old, essential drugs have been approved through the UDI in recent years, leading to 1,644% price hikes, according to Vizient analysis. (Modern Healthcare*; analysis)
CMS added more than 60 telehealth services that will be reimbursable during the public health emergency. Those changes to telehealth coverage will also be allowed permanently in rural areas. CMS added several services to category one, which includes services similar to office visits or psychiatry services and consultations. Services added include group psychotherapy, home visits and psychological testing. It also added services to category three, including emergency department visits, therapy services and hospital discharge day management. Those changes are permanent in rural areas. Any other permanent changes elsewhere require Congressional action. (Fierce Healthcare)
Note: sources that have an asterisk require login to view the article.
TODAY December 15, 2020 | 2:00 – 3:00pm EST
Jared Augenstein, MA, MPH, director, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, to present to the GTMRx Payment and Policy Solutions Workgroup. The following are the key subjects that will be addressed:
    • Value telehealth will bring to the provider, patient and payer
    • How COVID-19 will change CMM care
    • Actions the government can take to improve availability and adoptability of telehealth
If you are interested in attending this presentation, please reach out to GTMRx Operations Manager, Izzy Serji, MPH, at iserji@gtmr.org, with the subject line “GTMRx Speaker: 12/15”
The Get The Medications Right Institute (GTMRx) workgroups have developed a set of Tools from Our Experts to advocate for medication management reform. These tools are designed to be useful resources for all stakeholders, and we believe these will be vital to optimize medication use through CMM in practice. We encourage you to share them, post them and use them to advocate for medication management reform. Get a sneak peek at these guidance documents here. (Note: In January, website enhancements will include a sortable feature.)
The GTMRx’s Precision Medicine Enablement via Advanced Diagnostics Workgroup and Pharmacogenomics Payment and Policy Taskforce recently completed an evidence document that articulates the value of pharmacogenomics in the context of comprehensive medication management. In this blog post, Jill S. Bates, PharmD, MS, BCOP, FASHP. National PHASER pharmacy program manager for the Department of Veterans Affairs, offers insights into what the task force learned. Read it here.
In a just released episode, GTMRx executive director Katie Capps appeared on GenXy’s Precision Insights Podcast. The series consists of inspiring conversations around precision medicine with industry thought leaders and innovators where they share the most cutting-edge technologies, processes and initiatives in precision and personalized medicine. ?Katie discussed some common myths around CMM, how it differs from MTM, how PGx can be used to optimize medication and how we can integrate PGx into the CMM process to reap genomic and personalized medicine’s full benefits. Be sure to listen? here.
In November, 475 GTMRx signing members registered to attend our four-part Member Feedback series. These events showcased the tools developed from 140+ GTMRx experts on the following topics: how we pay, practice, use diagnostics and integrate technology. These tools are soon-to-be released guidance documents your organization can use to advocate for reform. Learn more about the events and watch the recordings here.
AmazonSmile is an easy way for 0.5% of your qualified purchases go to the GTMRx Foundation at no cost to you. And signing up is simple—go to smile.amazon.com and select “Get the Medications Right Foundation” as your charity of choice. If you prefer to directly donate instead, you can do so here.
Adding the foundation on AmazonSmile will help us continue to provide no cost educational webinars, issue briefs, weekly news briefs and promote the need for transformation of our current system of medication use through social media campaigns.
The GTMRx Institute is supported by our Founding Funders, Executive Members and Strategic Partners.
  See past issues of our weekly news brief here
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