DUBLIN, Ohio — In response to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s request that business leaders help increase vaccination rates, four Ohio Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) are partnering with Outcomes to leverage the expertise and trusted status of local pharmacists for vaccine consultation and administration, particularly in underserved communities.
On behalf of Buckeye Health Plan, Molina, Paramount and UnitedHealthcare, Outcomes, recently launched by Cardinal Health, created a Needs Immunization service on the Connect™ platform to engage local pharmacists in personal outreach to Ohio Medicaid members who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have stated that COVID-19 vaccines have been rigorously evaluated for safety and effectiveness and recommends that all people 12 years and older be vaccinated for prevention of COVID-19 as soon as possible. In this proactive consultation, the pharmacist connects with a Medicaid member to address any specific concerns or questions the patient may have about the vaccine, explain how to receive the vaccine and if possible, administer the vaccine on the spot.
“A personalized conversation with a healthcare provider offers an opening for Medicaid members to share any fears about the COVID-19 vaccine and understand how the vaccine can benefit them,” said Jessica Frank, vice president of Payer Solutions for Outcomes. “In our service, their pharmacist reaches out to the member directly to discuss their specific concerns.”
“Encouraging Ohio’s hesitant Medicaid and MyCare Ohio members to get vaccinated requires both accuracy and immediacy along with deep knowledge of our members and their needs,” says Meera Patel-Zook, Buckeye Health Plan Vice President Pharmacy Operations. “Our members know and trust their local pharmacist, so the Outcomes platform is a natural fit to enable pharmacists to proactively engage in COVID-19 vaccination interventions.”
The Needs Immunization service also provides pharmacists access to best practices for addressing vaccine hesitancy. Participating pharmacies earn a medication therapy management (MTM) service fee for completing the intervention and documenting the consultation in the Outcomes platform, including vaccine administration date. If the vaccine is not administered at their pharmacy, the pharmacist follows up with the patient after their consultation to confirm they received the vaccine elsewhere.
“Molina is committed to increasing vaccination rates among its Medicaid members through partnerships with providers and local health departments,” said Ami Cole, plan president of Molina Healthcare of Ohio. “Our partnership with Outcomes will leverage contact that Ohio pharmacists have with Molina members and help increase vaccinations.”
More than 350,000 Ohio Medicaid members are expected to be eligible for the Needs Immunization consultation. The MCOs are reporting results of this initiative to the Ohio Department of Medicaid to provide visibility into the impact.
“Paramount Advantage is proud to partner with our providers, pharmacies, health departments and community agencies to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates in Medicaid members across the state,” said Lori Johnston, President of Paramount Insurance. “Our goal is to work in coordination with the other managed care plans, the Ohio Department of Medicaid and the Governor’s office to reduce barriers and incentivize more Ohioans to get vaccinated.”
The state of Ohio has applied several inventive strategies, such as turning event centers and fairgrounds into mass-vaccination centers and a lottery drawing with $1 million in prize money to increase vaccination rates and combat vaccine hesitancy.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to support the state’s creative solutions to motivate people to get vaccinations,” said Mike Roaldi, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Ohio. “We know that hearing accurate information from a trusted local source, like a local pharmacist, is important to getting more people vaccinated against COVID-19.”