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NEW YORK Here’s the diabetic rub — there is no more efficient way to reach the growing multitudes of diabetics around improving disease-state management and testing/pharmaceutical compliance than through the one touch point with which they interact most often — that being the neighborhood pharmacist.
That helps explain why an initiative like this is attractive to NCPA members. More patients are becoming diabetic and are in search of an accessible and trusted healthcare advisor to help them navigate this disease. Why not the healthcare professional that they’re visiting at least once per month, if not more often?
But here’s why it’s important for the folks debating healthcare reform in the nation’s capital — intercept the diabetes patient at the point of care they visit most often and you significantly increase the chances they’ll be more compliant with their doctor-prescribed therapy and thereby avoid more serious, and much more expensive, complications down the road. This is an important opportunity for community pharmacy to further demonstrate the important role it can serve in helping this growing patient population better manage the disease, living longer, healthier lives and at less cost to the payer (see Ashville Project, 10 City Challenge), at a time when DMEPOS rules could take many pharmacies out of the diabetes care business altogether.
To summarize — pharmacists save healthcare dollars, and a whole lot of them at that.
Does that sound important? Just ask the payers operating in the Lone Star State, which according to a report issued by the Texas Business Group on Health this week, pay 20% more than your average American to treat diabetes ($63,000). And worse, there are a growing number of diabetics living in the heat of Texas, 74% more in El Paso, for example, and 31% in the Texas metropolis of Dallas.
Texan diabetics would certainly benefit from a program such as NCPA and AADE are developing. Patient compliance (taking prescribed medications) and persistence (total length of time on therapy) in filling their insulin and anti-diabetes prescriptions in 2008 declined consistently month over month across all of the Texas markets profiled in the report.