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Albertsons, HCSC team to tackle adherence


Customer-owned health insurer Health Care Service Corporation has launched a multi-phase program called Pharmacists Adding Value and Expertise in collaboration with Jewel-Osco, Safeway and Albertsons Pharmacies in Illinois, Montana and New Mexico, as well as with the Texas Pharmacist Association. The move represents the company's effort to help improve medication adherence rates with its Medicare and dual-eligible (Medicare/Medicaid) members.


Medication non-adherence costs the U.S. healthcare system between $100 and $300 billion a year. According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, the figures represent 3 to 10% of total U.S. healthcare costs — every penny of which is needlessly wasted.


PAVE aims to engage members and pharmacists in a clinical intervention program to address the various causes for non-adherence. In the first six months of the program, medication adherence rates have climbed more than 18%, as measured by proportion of days covered, a metric commonly used to measure medication adherence.


“Through the PAVE program, we have demonstrated that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to medication adherence and that focusing on one-to-one member interactions is an ideal way to help build trust while boosting the member’s engagement in their care,” said Jay Gandhi, PharmD, divisional VP, Enterprise Pharmacy, HCSC. “When members are engaged in conversations concerning their health with providers they trust, they are more open to having an honest dialogue about their individualized clinical, financial, physical, social and cultural barriers that they may be experiencing as it relates to medication adherence. Community pharmacists have the respect, understanding and trust of our members and we want to preserve and empower that member-pharmacist bond.”


By leveraging its proprietary claims data, HCSC identifies members who have not been adhering to the medication regime prescribed by their doctors and enlists community pharmacists to engage with its members and discuss their treatments. Some common solutions included setting up reminders on members’ phones to take medications at a certain time, distributing pill boxes to help members organize medications or contacting the member’s doctor to address more clinical and complex issues.


“Patients’ adherence to their medications is critical to managing their health and well-being. Our pharmacists are acutely aware of this and welcomed the opportunity to partner with Blue Cross and Blue Shield to improve their members’ medication adherence,” said Mark Panzer, senior VP of pharmacy health and wellness, Albertsons Companies. “We are working as a team to optimize treatment outcomes and maintain better health for HCSC members, our valuable customers.”


The program launched in early 2016 with more than 5,000 members who filled prescriptions at more than 200 participating Jewel-Osco, Safeway and Albertsons pharmacies in Illinois, Montana and New Mexico. It focused on adherence to diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol medication.


Following the program's reported success, the company has plans to expand and include HEB stores in Texas and members in Oklahoma. The program will also target interventions that go beyond medication adherence to include activities to limit inappropriate use of certain high-risk medications in members who are 65 years and older, such as some sleep medicines, estrogen therapy and some types of antidepressants; drug utilization reviews and appropriate use of specialty medications and pharmaceuticals.

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