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Study highlighting importance of MTM featured in Forbes

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Low-risk patients were three times less likely to be admitted to a hospital when they received medication therapy management from a pharmacist, according to the findings of a recent study that was highlighted in Forbes magazine.

“Enhancing the quality of care for patients has always been the goal of health care providers, but the growing costs of Medicare and health care in general have put an even brighter spotlight on strategies to improve patient outcomes and reduce unnecessary costs," he said.

Zillich led a team of researchers who collaborated with the home health care organization Amedisys and pharmacists from Curant Health (formerly HealthStat Rx), who provided the MTM intervention.

The study, led by Purdue University, underscores the important role that pharmacists can play in helping patients improve health outcomes.

"We know that medication therapy management (MTM) improves adherence, improves outcomes and improves lives," stated Patrick Dunham, CEO of Curant Health, which provided the medication therapy management interventions. "Reducing hospital admissions for the lowest-risk patients in this study by 86% is another powerful proof point for the value of MTM and its capability to simultaneously reduce costs and improve care across the health care continuum."

The study followed 895 patients from 40 Amedisys home health care centers throughout the United States, with 415 receiving the intervention.

 

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Larry Merlo talks to prominent business, government leaders about what CVS Caremark can do to cut costs, improve outcomes

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Looking to further spread awareness about how CVS Caremark can leverage its unique business model to help consumers, health plans, physicians and hospitals cut healthcare costs and improve health outcomes, CVS Caremark president and CEO Larry Merlo took to the stage as the guest speaker at Thursday’s Detroit Economic Club meeting.  

The meeting was held at the Westin Book Cadillac in Detroit. The Detroit Economic Club provides a platform for international dignitaries, business and government leaders who represent the changing global environment. The group offered a prime audience of key stakeholders for Merlo to share with business leaders — large healthcare payers — how the company is working to reinvent pharmacy.

During his presentation, “Reinventing Pharmacy for Better Health,” Merlo shed light on the many reasons why the nation’s healthcare system is stressed, including an aging population, the prevalence of chronic disease and increasing medication non-adherence. It is no secret that medication adherence is a major public health problem, resulting in about $300 billion a year in unnecessary medical treatment.

Merlo then outlined the solutions that CVS Caremark offers, such as its Pharmacy Advisor program, which has increased adherence rates up to 3.9% and returns $3 in savings for every $1 spent on counseling, accordint to studies.

The counseling program is available to CVS Caremark members who are diagnosed with certain chronic conditions and provides them with key information about their prescribed therapy when they are most receptive to these messages — face-to-face when members are filling a prescription at the pharmacy or by phone from the Pharmacy Advisor Call Center when members choose home delivery. It covers 10 chronic conditions, including asthma, breast cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression and osteoporosis

Merlo also touched upon its recent acquisition of Coram, one of the nation’s largest providers of infusion services. Clearly, the acquisition of Coram — as well as the rollout of its new Specialty Connect prescription services program — greatly expands the company’s competitive offerings in specialty services. With the high growth and high costs in specialty pharmacy, and the important role that infusion-based therapies play in that space — an $11 billion market, growing at about 10% a year — these are areas where the company’s unique structure and multiple touchpoints allow to deliver considerable cost savings.

In addition, Merlo highlighted the importance of its MinuteClinic business in offering accessible and affordable care to patients. As previously reported by Drug Store News, the clinic provider is working toward its longer-term goal of creating a national platform to support primary care in light of a growing shortage of primary care physicians. And, by 2017, MinuteClinic plans to operate about 1,500 clinics in 35 states.

As anticipated, Merlo discussed during the meeting the company’s recent decision to stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products at its 7,600 CVS/pharmacy locations nationwide by Oct. 1 — a move he has described “as the right decision at the right time.”

In line with the move, CVS/pharmacy announced earlier this week an in-store fundraising campaign to help fight the No. 1 cancer killer of women: lung cancer. Funds raised through the campaign will benefit Lung Force, a new initiative to make lung cancer in women a public health priority, drive policy change and increase research funding.

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HMN acquires patient education business

BY Ryan Chavis

DARIEN, Conn. — Health Media Network, a digital point-of-care media company, last week announced the acquisition of HealthBridge’s Patient Education Center business. HealthBridge, a healthcare media company and owner of Physician’s Weekly, provides physicians and healthcare professionals with the information they need to make important decisions at the point of care.

This acquisition will expand Health Media Network to cover more than 11,000 locations, with more than 55,000 physicians across the country. It includes HealthBridge’s Patient Education Center, Health Focus Waiting Room TV and the Healthy Living with HIV Wallboard Network, according to the company. Harvard Medical School will provide content for the newly acquired Patient Education Center — a wallboard and brochure network displayed at 4,000 locations.

“Health Media Network and Physician’s Weekly are like-minded companies that together offer greater choices for physicians and advertisers that need to engage with consumers over relevant medical information. The goal is to empower patients and inform physicians to improve outcomes,” said Christopher Culver, CEO of Health Media Network.

 

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