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Chains receive MTM accolades

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MINNETONKA, Minn. — Giant Eagle, Publix Super Markets, Fred’s and Wegmans Food Markets pharmacies were among the winners of this year’s UnitedHealthcare Medication Adherence Targeted Intervention Program Challenge, benefiting the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation.

The Medication Adherence TIP Challenge recognizes pharmacy operators for their efforts to better Medicare beneficiaries’ health and well being via improved adherence to their prescription drug regimens.

UnitedHealthcare said that Giant Eagle, Publix and Fred’s were the winners in the large pharmacy chain category. Wegmans, LI Script in West Babylon, N.Y., and Kohll’s Pharmacies in Omaha, Neb., were the winners in the small retail pharmacy chain and independent pharmacy category.

UnitedHealthcare last month presented a donation of $90,000 — $15,000 on behalf of each winning pharmacy — to the NACDS Foundation at the 16th annual NACDS Foundation Dinner in Manhattan.

“We are grateful for the generous donation from UnitedHealthcare,” Kathleen Jaeger, president of the foundation, said in a statement. “Collaboration between health insurers and pharmacies is critical to improving medication adherence rates, particularly among seniors. Initiatives like the TIP Challenge are a unique and effective way to encourage that collaboration.”

UnitedHealthcare created the TIP Challenge in 2013 to recognize the pharmacies in its network that have been the most successful at helping its Medicare Advantage-Part D plan members take their medications as prescribed.

The health insurer noted that the 2014 winners “markedly improved” medication adherence among a group of plan members.

Using its analytics, UnitedHealthcare identified members at risk for medication nonadherence and then notified the pharmacies of customers who could benefit from pharmacist-led medication therapy management (MTM) services. For example, customers with a pattern of not filling prescriptions or picking up refills were flagged for the participating pharmacies. Pharmacists then worked with these customers in one-on-one consultations to help address their barriers to adherence, such as medication cost, forgetting to take medications and complex medication regimens.

When appropriate, pharmacists also informed customers’ physicians of opportunities to consider evidence-based therapy protocols that could benefit the customer. For instance, UnitedHealthcare said pharmacists consulted with doctors when customers were using medications classified as high risk for treatment of seniors to determine if a new prescription for a safer alternative medication would be appropriate.

The pharmacies in each challenge category were ranked based on their customers’ medication adherence rates. The top three pharmacies in each category were named as the winners.

“Pharmacists often interact with their customers on a weekly and sometimes even a daily basis, making them a critically important part of Medicare beneficiaries’ health care team,” stated Steve Nelson, chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement unit. “We applaud the winning pharmacies in our Medication Adherence TIP Challenge and are honored to recognize their contributions to helping our members live healthier lives.”

UnitedHealthcare reported that, according to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), almost 75% of adults do not take their medications as prescribed, which limits the drugs’ effectiveness, raises the risk of poor health outcomes and increases the overall cost of care. Medication nonadherence is a significant issue among seniors, given that about 90% of adults over age 60 take at least one prescription medication and that more than a third take five or more prescription drugs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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