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CVS Caremark alliance aims to reduce hospital readmissions

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Leveraging its medication therapy knowledge, CVS Caremark Corp. has partnered with Dovetail Health, a provider of transitional care services, to help prevent hospital readmissions.

CVS Caremark said Thursday that helping patients better manage and understand their medication regimens after they are discharged from a hospital can play a large part in reducing the likelihood of readmissions. To that end, Dovetail will provide plan members whose pharmacy benefits are administered by CVS Caremark with in-home medication counseling conducted by a pharmacist care manager and focused on medication adherence and drug safety.

Plans call for CVS Caremark and Dovetail to begin a pilot program early next year and make the offering available to CVS Caremark pharmacy benefit management (PBM) clients later in 2012.

One in five seniors are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge, and it’s estimated that nearly 70% of adverse health events that occur after a hospital discharge stem from medication management issues, according to CVS Caremark and Needham, Mass.-based Dovetail.

"Dovetail Health will help CVS Caremark clients deal with the high prevalence of hospital readmissions, which are costly and have a negative impact on members’ health outcomes," Troy Brennan, executive vice president and chief medical officer at CVS Caremark, said in a statement. "Very often, these patients are taking multiple medications and are trying to navigate a variety of treatment guidelines provided by their primary care physician and the hospital discharge team, all of which can complicate medication safety and adherence.

"Our research shows that the intervention of a clinical pharmacist helps patients better understand their medications and avoid potential barriers to recovery after coming home from the hospital," Brennan noted.

Specifically, the integrated readmission prevention offering will use risk stratification and predictive modeling to identify patients at greatest risk for hospital readmission, CVS Caremark said. High-risk patients will receive an in-home consultation with a clinical pharmacist shortly after discharge, which includes a drug therapy review, care plan development to mitigate the greatest readmission risk factors (such as chronic illness management), health coaching and care coordination with the patient’s health care provider.

Patients will continue to receive ongoing counseling support from a clinical pharmacist for up to 90 days to continue to monitor progress and encourage active participation in their treatment and adherence to their prescribed medication regimen. Patients identified to be at moderate risk will be targeted for a 90-day telephone program that will include an initial medication review by a pharmacist and ongoing care coordination with other health care providers.

"Dovetail is focused on reducing unnecessary medical expenditures by supporting the highest risk patients with coordinated care to help them successfully transition back to their homes following a hospitalization," stated Stever Aubrey, chief executive officer of Dovetail Health. "We have found that in-home pharmacist care managers are uniquely qualified to assess and mitigate the most urgent readmission risk factors. Being able to coordinate ongoing follow-up with a CVS Caremark pharmacist via telephone for 90 days post-discharge further magnifies the impact of the program and empowers patients to take charge of their health and stay out of the hospital."


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