HEALTH

Pharmacy groups brief Congress on health, cost benefits of MTM

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK Making sure that medication therapy management is a part of any new healthcare reform legislation is a major priority for this industry, but it may be even more critical to the U.S. healthcare system.

 

Here’s why: according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid estimates, $2.5 trillion will be spent on health care this year. Approximately 54% of that spend was assumed by private insurers and out-of-pocket costs. By 2018, the majority of that spend is expected to shift toward the government, CMS predicts, with an assumption of some 51% of the $4.4 trillion projected spend then.

 

Meanwhile, pharmacists do a lot more than just fill prescriptions, such as work with physicians to optimize therapeutic choices, and help patients understand their medications and how to take them. These types of services already help save billions each year in unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits by preventing dangerous interactions and adverse effects.

Then there’s MTM.

Using diabetes as just one example, such programs as the Diabetes Ten City Challenge, a national program launched by the APhA Foundation in 2005 that today is saving up to $1,000 per year per patient through a pharmacist-driven patient intervention.

Walgreens Health Initiatives in 2006 determined that its MTM program netted a 2.5:1 return on investment, saving some $408,000 annually for each 100,000 covered.

Take either one of those studies and extrapolate those savings across the ever-growing Medicare population, and you have some real  potential to take a significant bite out of that $2.2 trillion in projected government healthcare costs within the next 10 years.

What’s real telling, however, is that Congress is listening to what pharmacy might be able to offer. This Tuesday, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores is hosting its first RxIMPACT Day on Capital Hill. Already, 60 leaders from over 20 states have committed to attend.

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American Dietetic Association survey: Healthcare system should focus on nutrition

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Nearly 96% of primary care physicians believe the nation’s healthcare system should place more emphasis on nutrition to treat and manage chronic disease, according to a new survey.

Based on the 400 physicians surveyed, primary care physicians were almost unanimous in their belief that nutrition is a key role in chronic disease.

“Nutrition is more than just eating a healthy diet; for patients with chronic disease nutrition acts as therapy to help them heal faster, respond better to medical care and control their disease,” said Jane V. White, PhD, LDN, RD, FADA, with the department of Family Medicine at the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, who partnered with the American Dietetic Association on the survey.

Nearly half of all adults in the United States have at least one chronic disease and survey showed that physicians believed two-in-three of their adult patients who have chronic disease would benefit from nutrition services. Nevertheless, 80% of physicians admit they refrain from addressing nutrition more frequently as part of chronic disease prevention and management due to the lack of direct reimbursement for nutrition services.

As the focus on healthcare reform and preventative care becomes more concentrated, physicians are pushing for governmental action.

“Registered dietitians and doctors have long known the intrinsic value of nutrition services for their patients,” said registered dietitian Martin Yadrick, MS, MBA, RD, FADA, previous president of the ADA. “It is now important for lawmakers to recognize the benefits as well and include them as covered benefits in health care reform.”

KelloggsDRSNhttp://www.centerstoregrowth.com

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Stayhealthy presents wireless body-fat analyzer; final product to be HealthVault-friendly

BY Michael Johnsen

BELLEVUE, Wash. Following a two-year clinical study at the University of Southern California, Stayhealthy on Thursday introduced their next generation body composition analysis technology at Microsoft’s Connected Health Conference.

The technology accurately measures body composition in various forms depending on the need – from a home use individual device that will retail for less than $100 to a commercial grade device for physicians, fitness and nutrition professionals.

The devices will be able to upload the data directly into Microsoft HealthVault. “Stayhealthy’s body composition analysis is an example of inexpensive and innovative technology that connects with HealthVault to really make a difference in improving healthcare,” stated David Cerino, general manager of the Consumer Health Solutions Group at Microsoft. “Through our cooperative efforts, we are creating technology that brings together the power of the web, server-based processing and medical grade devices to deliver a revolutionary means of helping people better understand and measure their weight-related health risks.”

“At a time when our nation faces a healthcare crisis driven by excess weight and obesity, we are excited to introduce the Stayhealthy Body

Composition Analysis technology,” stated John Collins, CEO of Stayhealthy. “By providing this technology we hope to help millions of people track their body compositions and make positive adjustments as necessary.”

Stayhealthy’s Body Composition Analysis technology incorporates two elements – a physical data collection device that utilizes bio-impedance technology, and a proprietary server-based algorithm that analyzes the data collected at the device and provides a precise body composition reading via the Internet back to the user’s computer.

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