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Practice Transformation

Primary care access helped reduce risk of COVID infection, death
Counties with greater primary care access, more robust public health and fewer social vulnerabilities had fewer COVID-19 infections and deaths, according to a report from the Primary Care Collaborative and Robert Graham Center. “As we emerge from the current pandemic and re-imagine and rebuild primary care, we also need to look at other factors, such as investment in public health and community-based services,” PCC President and CEO Ann Greiner said in a statement. “It is beyond time for us all to reach beyond our silos and join forces to address the widening health inequities that the pandemic laid bare.” (reportHealio)
Ransone: Family docs best resource for getting COVID vax to kids
Amid “a strained public health system, misinformation and vaccine hesitancy,” vaccinating 28 million children ages five to 11 against COVID-19 “will be no easy task,” Sterling N. Ransone, Jr., MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, writes in a commentary for USA Today. “Fortunately, the best resources available to move us toward this goal already exist: our nation’s family physicians.” He calls on public health officials and policymakers to further engage family physicians and their primary care colleagues to help increase vaccination rates. (USA Today*)

Evidence & Innovation

Diagnostic errors costly, deadly and preventable
In a recent blog post, Acting AHRQ Director David Meyers, MD, and AHRQ’s chief patient safety official, Jeff Brady, MD, MPH, discussed diagnostic safety. Diagnostic errors affect roughly 5% of US adults each year, accounting for about 10% of patient deaths and are the single greatest source of medical malpractice claims. Brady explains that many diagnostic errors have their roots in two major types of challenges: how people think (cognitive errors) and issues with systems and processes. What becomes clear is that communication plays a key role in both causing and preventing diagnostic errors.” (AHRQ)
Education needed: People still don’t understand vaccines
A new Axios/Ipsos poll finds Americans are uncertain about how well COVID-19 vaccines work. This lack of knowledge is likely contributing to the vaccine resistance, USA Today reports. In the poll, just over a quarter of respondents correctly said that a vaccinated 80-year-old is at greater risk of dying of COVID-19 than an unvaccinated 30-year-old. Only 40% knew that vaccinated people are less likely to test positive for the coronavirus than the unvaccinated. The poll also found that roughly 60% support their employer mandating the vaccine, but only 14% support firing employees who do not comply. (IpsosUSA TodayGTMRx report)

Policy Solutions

FDA releases guiding principles for AI, ML
Last month, the FDA released 10 guiding principles to promote the safe and effective development of medical devices that use artificial intelligence and machine learning. The FDA and its UK and Canadian counterparts said the principles are intended to lay the foundation for Good Machine Learning Practice (GMLP). AI and ML technologies have the potential to radically expand the health care industry—but their complexity also presents unique considerations. The principles identify points at which international standards organizations and other collaborative bodies could work to advance GMLP. (Healthcare IT News10 guiding principles)

Despite pandemic, Medicare ACOs do better than in 2019
Increased cost savings plus high quality scores led to an increase in the number of Shared Savings ACOs earning savings in 2020. Analysis from researchers at Margolis Center and Leavitt Partners finds 67% of Shared Savings Program ACOs were earning shared savings in 2020, up from 50% to 57% in 2019. The analysis also reveals a learning curve: About 52% of the ACOs in their third and 83% in their fourth year achieved shared savings. MSSP and other value-based programs “have helped health care organizations be resilient during COVID-19 by providing…care delivery and financial flexibility,” the researchers concluded. (RevCycleIntelligenceHealth Affairs)
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In Case You Missed It!

GTMRx Update: Educating Employers as Health Plan Sponsors

The GTMRx Institute presented at the GPBCH Educational Program on CMM. Thank you to GTMRx senior advisor, Sandra Morris, and GTMRx distinguished fellow, Jan Hirsch who presented on behalf of the Institute. Also involved in the event were GTMRx Employer Advisory member Neil Goldfarb and our executive member, Tabula Rasa HealthCare.
You can watch the recording here.
CMM IN ACTION | GTMRx Use Case: How is the VA utilizing comprehensive medication management (CMM) in practice?
ICYM, this use case describes just that, using real outcomes from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Primary Care Clinical Pharmacy Specialist (CPS) Practice. Learn how they avoided 27% of return appointments at one site as a result of CMM interventions with a projected cost avoidance of nearly $3.8 million in cost savings per year for the VA.
In this episode, Dr. Thomas Mattras, the director of operations in the Office of Primary Care at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, joins GTMRx executive director, Katherine H. Capps, to talk about personalized, proactive, patient-centered care; how to encourage physicians to utilize clinical pharmacists in their practice; and shares patient success stories from CMM services.
Listen here.

Advocacy in Action
GTMRx is pleased to announce that we have launched our Advocacy Letters and Policy Documents page on the GTMRx website. Advocacy is a core component of the GTMRx Institute’s mission, and our policy positions are aimed at advancing acceptance and recognition of the importance of creating a systematic, evidence-based approach to medications and their rational use through CMM in practice. To advance our efforts, comments are submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), members of Congress, the Administration, and other public sector payers (OPM) as appropriate.

This toolkit explores the benefits of CMM for individuals and for the employers who pay for benefits. Research published in March 2018 reveals the waste to the system when the wrong drugs are prescribed, drugs are skipped or drugs make people sicker which in turn leads to an estimated 275,689 deaths per year. In financial terms, there’s also a $528 billion price tag attributed to non-optimized medication use. This toolkit was developed with guidance and support from the GTMRx Employer Toolkit Taskforce.
Use this toolkit to work with your:
  • Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs)
  • Medical carriers
  • Benefit consultants
  • Solution providers (PGx, others)
  • Employees
Read the report here.
Additional resources:
  • FAQs for employers as health plan sponsors here.
  • PGx insight for Employers here.
Join us to be part of meaningful change
Irma, like many others, struggles as a result of our current trial-and-error approach to medication. That is why we advocate for a new, comprehensive approach to medication use and prescribing. As a non-profit 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organization, the GTMRx Institute and Foundation relies on funding from our supporting members. We ask that you consider becoming a Supporting Signing Member so we can continue to provide relevant, timely resources to get the medications right!
If you’re interested in supporting the Institute or Foundation at a higher level, please contact us. Your dollars will bring about meaningful change for people like Irma.

Become a Supporting Member Today

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 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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