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Practice Transformation

New research confirms that higher medication risk scores (MRS) are correlated with a higher risk of death. The study published in the Journal of Patient Safety, used EHR data from over 427,000 patients to calculate medication risk scores, using Tabula Rasa HealthCare’s MedWise technology. Researchers concluded that MRS was independently associated with death even after adjusting for other factors that increase the risk of death. “Our results suggest that pharmacist-directed interventions targeted to those who have an elevated MRS could improve medication safety for ambulatory patients taking multiple medications.” (Journal of Patient Safetyannouncement)
As payers hold providers financially accountable for outcomes, many worry that organizations caring for populations with greater social risk factors are unfairly penalized, according to the authors of a recent Health Affairs Blog post. Policymakers should implement models that adjust payment to account for social risk. “By adjusting payment rather than performance scores, such programs can appropriately reward and resource those caring for socioeconomically vulnerable populations.” This holds providers to a common performance standard, regardless of the population served and will avoid perpetuating disparities and accepting lower care standards for those with greater social risk. (Health Affairs Blog)

Anthem’s white bagging raises ire

Primary care physicians and providers will be crucial to ensuring everyone receives a COVID-19 vaccination, state health officials said during a briefing last month. The federal government will soon distribute smaller packages of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that can be more easily used by individual PCPs. Estimating the number of doses required will be challenging, but it’s important to be able to offer a vaccine in the office instead of having to refer patients elsewhere, says Ngozi Ezike, MD, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. (Medscape Medical News)

Evidence & Innovation
Support for research on drug repurposing hasn’t played much of a role in finding new COVID-19 therapies, but that may be changing, MedPage Today reports. For example, as part of its Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) trial program, the NIH launched ACTIV-6 to examine up to seven repurposed drugs for their efficacy in treating mild-to-moderate COVID-19 outpatients. Proponents say that the strategy can be faster and cheaper than new drug development. Critics compare drug repurposing to looking for a needle in a haystack, and they warn it can raise false hopes and waste resources. (MedPage Today*)
Use of direct-to-consumer telemedicine may increase costs and utilization, according to an analysis published in Health Affairs. Patients who used telehealth for upper respiratory infections were more likely to receive more follow-up care than those who received in-person care. The telemedicine cohort had fewer emergency department visits but more subsequent office, urgent care and telemedicine visits. “Our findings suggest that potential savings from shifting initial care to a direct-to-consumer telemedicine setting should be balanced against the potential for higher spending on downstream care,” researchers conclude. (Modern Healthcare*; Health Affairs)

Policy Solutions

In a recent letter to HHS, 124 patient groups urged the department to take actions that would lead to decreased prescription costs. Signatories included the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, National Alliance on Mental Illness, AIDS United and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The letter details how recent trends, including high deductible plans and high cost-sharing, have threatened treatment affordability for patients. Among their five recommendations: Enforce the Affordable Care Act’s nondiscrimination provisions, establish cost-sharing caps for patients and require insurers to offer plans that include first-dollar coverage for prescriptions. (Becker’s Hospital Reviewannouncement)
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In Case You Missed It!

Steven W. Chen, Pharm.D., FASHP FCSHP, FNAP, associate dean for clinical affairs, USC School of Pharmacy and the William A. Heeres and Josephine A. Heeres Chair in Community Pharmacy; founder of the California Right Meds Collaborative (CRMC) is speaking to the GTMRx Payment and Policy Solution Workgroup on May 4th about how CRMC has developed payment methodologies with payors.
Our Employer toolkit, developed by the GTMRx Employer Toolkit Taskforce, explores the benefits of CMM for individuals and for the employers who pay for benefits.
Covers topics, such as:
  • What is CMM
  • How CMM differs from traditional MTM
  • The ROI of CMM in practice
  • Patients that benefit the most from CMM services
  • CMM & value-based strategies (return-on-investment)
  • CMM & Pharmacogenomics testing
  • Employer call to action
Find more information on its development and what others are saying in our press release. Find other, employer-related resources.
Download the Employer Toolkit today!
Employers want a healthy, productive workforce. They want to eliminate waste. They want health care that works. They want the investments they make in primary care programs designed to manage chronic conditions and in medication management programs to create value; mitigate risks; and decrease hospitalizations, ER visits and other services that impact total cost of care.
They can make that happen. Read more.
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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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