British Columbia, Ontario pharmacists to provide new cardiovascular program to patients
TORONTO — Green Shield Canada, in partnership with the Ontario Pharmacists Association and the British Columbia Pharmacy Association, has launched a pharmacist counseling service focused on cardiovascular health.
The Pharmacist Health Coaching program is designed to improve the health outcomes of patients with hypertension and high cholesterol, and reduce health benefits costs. It is now available to plan members of Green Shield Canada's health benefits plans in Ontario and British Columbia. Green Shield Canada stated that, as the year progresses, it will be actively engaging additional provinces in the program.
Under the program, pharmacists offer eligible patients support and counseling on managing high blood pressure and high cholesterol through one-on-one sessions. The program's objective is to empower participants to take responsibility for their overall health. It will focus on diet, exercise, smoking cessation, drug therapy adherence and personal health monitoring. Training has been developed for pharmacists delivering the program, and remuneration will be made available for the counseling services provided.
The Pharmacist Health Coaching program is based on a study sponsored by Green Shield Canada, in partnership with the Ontario Pharmacists Association and other organizations (including the Heart and Stroke Foundation), which tested the effectiveness of pharmacists' hypertension management services. Patients with uncontrolled hypertension met regularly with their pharmacists, who provided medication and lifestyle counseling and monitored blood pressure. The results of the study provided clear evidence that a significant percentage of patients who received a pharmacist's support had lower blood pressure, lower body mass index, improved medication compliance and reduced drug costs compared with a control group of patients who did not receive pharmacist support.
Thanks for your questions! According to Green Shield Canada, pharmacists must fulfill certain criteria such as filling out a standardized form that guides them through the service provision and, upon completion, they are compensated roughly $60 (Canadian dollars) for the initial consultation. The pharmacist is then encouraged to provide three subsequent follow-up visits with the patient and they received C$20 for each of those visits.
As for metrics, in the study sponsored by Green Shield Canada, in partnership with the Ontario Pharmacists Association and other organizations, adherence was measured in two ways: Researchers looked at the patients’ refill frequency data (Green Shield Canada had that data because the patients were on Green Shield Canada's drug plan) and they also measured self-reported adherence, which showed a 15% improvement in adherence from the start of the study to the end.
-- Antoinette Alexander, Senior Editor, Drug Store News
Interesting initiative. What is the remuneration provided for the service and how is it provided? In US Pharmacists cannot be reimbursed for patient counseling. Also what was the metric used to determine improved adherence? Thank you
NACDS applauds Commission’s recognition of pharmacy access, choice for TRICARE patients
ARLINGTON, Va. — Leading up to a Senate hearing examining recommendations from the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores expressed support for the commission’s recognition of preserving pharmacy access and choice for TRICARE patients. NACDS also reiterated concern with a budget proposal that would compromise that access and choice.
NACDS submitted a statement to the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee for its hearing Wednesday titled “Healthcare Recommendations of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission.”
“We are pleased that the commission recognizes that beneficiaries should be able to receive their prescriptions from whichever location they prefer, whether it be the local neighborhood pharmacy, a mail order facility, or a military treatment facility,” NACDS said in its statement. “Moreover, we applaud the commission for specifically recommending that the TRICARE pharmacy benefit should integrate pharmaceutical treatment with healthcare and to implement robust [medication therapy management] MTM.”
Established by the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, the Commission developed recommendations to ensure the long-term viability of the all-volunteer armed forces; to foster recruitment, retention and careers in the armed forces; and to modernize and achieve fiscal sustainability for the armed forces’ compensation and retirement systems. The Commission submitted its report on Jan. 29.
Citing immunizations and disease screenings, as well as personal interactions with patients, face-to-face consultations and convenient access to preventive care services, “local pharmacists are helping to shape the healthcare delivery system of tomorrow—in partnership with doctors, nurses, and others,” NACDS said in its statement.
In addition to helping improve patient outcomes, NACDS emphasized that pharmacy services help reduce overall healthcare costs.
Recognizing the cost effectiveness of pharmacist-provided vaccinations, the Department of Defense authorizes TRICARE beneficiaries to obtain vaccinations at a retail network pharmacy for a $0 co-payment. In its final rule expanding the authority of retail pharmacies to provide vaccinations, DoD estimated that in the first six months of the immunization program, it had saved more than $1.8 million by having vaccinations provided through the pharmacy rather than the medical benefit.
In addition, NACDS cited mounting evidence of the benefits of MTM services in increasing medication adherence, enhancing communication and collaboration among providers and patients, optimizing medication use, and reducing overall healthcare costs.
“Considering the convenience and value that local retail pharmacies provide, we question the wisdom of policies that seek to drive TRICARE beneficiaries away from the benefit of their local, trusted pharmacists and unnecessarily complicate the delivery of care,” NACDS stated.
NACDS also reiterated concern with a proposal in the President’s budget that would increase pharmacy co-payments, further driving TRICARE beneficiaries out of their local pharmacies.
“In addition to unfairly penalizing TRICARE beneficiaries who prefer to use local pharmacies, NACDS believes that although this proposal may seem penny-wise, it is ultimately pound-foolish,” NACDS stated. “Threatening beneficiary access to prescription medications and their preferred healthcare provider will only increase the use of more costly medical interventions, such as physician and emergency room visits and hospitalizations.”
“NACDS and the chain pharmacy industry are committed to partnering with Congress, the Department of Defense (DoD), and other healthcare providers to improve the quality and affordability of healthcare services,” NACDS said in its statement.
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