CVS flexes healthcare muscles
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The news that CVS Caremark’s Pharmacy Advisor program has been recognized by the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute is yet one more illustration of how the company has positioned itself along the front lines to leverage its various points of care to improve outcomes and lower healthcare costs.
(THE NEWS: CVS Caremark saluted for Pharmacy Advisor program. For the full story, click here)
The program integrates the benefits of the PBM and the retail pharmacy to identify and counsel members about gaps in care and adherence issues. Member outreach includes educational information, pharmacist-initiated phone calls or face-to-face counseling with a pharmacist at a local CVS/pharmacy.
Identifying gaps in care and improving medication adherence clearly has been a significant focus for the company, and understandably so when looking at the stats: Nonadherence to medications costs the healthcare system up to $290 billion a year because many of the hospitalizations can be avoided if people take prescriptions as doctors direct.
Furthermore, the findings of a CVS Caremark study issued earlier this year found that patients with one or more of four chronic diseases who take medications as doctors direct may save the healthcare system as much as $7,800 per patient annually. The study findings revealed robust reductions in ER visits and in-patient hospital days from medication adherence, and by avoiding those costly events, there were substantial savings in overall health care costs.
Through such initiatives as its Pharmacy Advisor program, CVS Caremark continues to demonstrate the important role that retail pharmacy plays in U.S. health care.
Annual NACDS event will bring healthcare issues to light
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — As one retail pharmacy executive put it, "many members of Congress only experience the pharmacy industry through their eyes as a patient." Thanks to NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill, however, that no longer has to be the case.
(THE NEWS: NACDS RxImpact Day 2011 takes aim at new lawmakers. For the full story, click here)
RxImpact brings hundreds of advocates from across the nation to Washington, D.C., to educate members of Congress on the key role that retail pharmacy plays in the U.S. healthcare system, and it delivers a powerful message about the link between pharmacy services and the health improvements and cost savings that occur when patients take their medications as directed by a physician.
There’s no doubt that NACDS RxImpact Day is an important event for the industry, as involvement demonstrates dedication to advancing pharmacy and quality patient services. The more community pharmacy participates in RxImpact Day, the more Congress will understand pharmacy and its position on vital health policy issues.
With medication nonadherence-related costs weighing heavily on the already-strained U.S. healthcare system, and 112 new members in Congress, one could argue that it couldn’t be a more critical time for pharmacy leaders to take advantage of the event.
According to NACDS, citing data from the New England Healthcare Institute, it is estimated that $290 billion are spent each year due to medication nonadherence. This amount — which accounts for 13% of all healthcare expenditures — includes such preventable and more expensive forms of care as physician appointments and emergency room visits.
CVS Caremark saluted for Pharmacy Advisor program
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark announced on Friday that the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute awarded the company and its PBM client, ArcelorMittal, the 2011 Rx Benefit Innovation Award. The award recognizes the Pharmacy Advisor program, which was developed by CVS Caremark to manage costs, improve medication adherence and close gaps in care for members with diabetes.
Pharmacy Advisor is a PBM solution that leverages CVS Caremark’s PBM and retail assets in an effort to improve pharmacy care. The company applies rules engine technology to PBM claims data in order to identify plan members with diabetes who currently have suboptimal pharmacy care, as well as those who may be at risk of becoming suboptimal.
Evidence-based protocols also are applied to review the member’s current treatment and identify gaps in care or issues with medication adherence. Once these clinical improvement opportunities are identified for the member, pharmacists discuss these opportunities based on the member’s preferred mode of communication — either on the phone with a pharmacist or face-to-face at a local CVS/pharmacy store.
"This honor illustrates how an employer and its PBM can work together to improve healthcare quality while better managing cost," stated Per Lofberg, president of CVS Caremark’s PBM business. "For CVS Caremark, this award validates our efforts to develop innovative programs that improve patient engagement, better manage chronic diseases like diabetes and help clients keep their healthcare costs down."
In late 2009 through early 2010, CVS Caremark piloted the Pharmacy Advisor program with ArcelorMittal, a steel company, in the United States where the company currently has approximately 80,000 covered lives. At the start of the pilot program, the client’s member population had a diabetes prevalence rate of 13.7%. In addition, 48% of members with diabetes had at least one gap in therapy and one-third were nonadherent to prescribed medications.
By the conclusion of the six-month pilot, the program already had achieved significant improvements in closing gaps in care and increasing medication adherence rates compared with a control group. Program results demonstrated that a significantly higher number of gaps in care were closed, compared with a control group of members who were not counseled: 59% higher for phone-based counseling and 91% higher for face-to-face counseling.
"Health and safety is the top priority at ArcelorMittal. Therefore, we are committed to finding ways to help our employees and their families lead healthier lives, and this program has helped us meet that goal by delivering improved outcomes for our employees and their insured family members with diabetes," stated Mary Hendrickson, manager of employee benefits at ArcelorMittal. "The program engaged participants by providing them with access to information through personalized counseling with a trained pharmacist either on the phone or face to face."
Added Christopher Goff, CEO and general counsel for the Employers Health Purchasing Corporation of Ohio, "The Pharmacy Advisor program achieved positive results for one of our coalition members by dramatically improving pharmacy care for its members with diabetes. Based on the positive experience of this employer and its members during the pilot program, the majority of EHPCO coalition members have decided to adopt the Pharmacy Advisor program for 2011, and are looking forward to improved member engagement, increased adherence and reduced overall healthcare costs."