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School of Pharmacy's P3 Program Offered to 'Pilot Cohort' of State Employees

Some Maryland state employees at the State Center office complex in Baltimore will have an opportunity during the next 14 months to join a pilot project of medication therapy management (MTM) services provided by specially trained pharmacists in what's called the Maryland P3 (Patients, Pharmacists, Partnerships) Program.

The Maryland P3 Program is a partnership of the University of Maryland (UM) School of Pharmacy, the Office of Chronic Disease Prevention at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), and the Maryland Pharmacists Association.

According to the School, the services in the past for self-insured employers have improved health care outcomes and reduced direct health care costs between $495 to $3,281 for each participant per year. The health care cost savings were largely due to significant reductions in employees' hospital visits and emergency department visits.

The new pilot project is available to 5,000 state workers. The School of Pharmacy will develop, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness of the comprehensive medication therapy management services. And pharmacists, as medication experts, are working in collaboration with the employees' primary care providers to assist employees with proper use of medications and to help with diagnostic testing, counseling, and overall disease management.

The Maryland P3 Program began operating in August 2006 after receiving financial support from the Maryland General Assembly earlier that year. So far, it has primarily been offered to employees of self-insured, private companies. Since its inception, the P3 program has enrolled more than 700 patients at seven companies.

In the new pilot project, the state employees meet with a specially trained pharmacist for a one-time MTM review in which the employee and the primary care provider receive a medication list and an individualized medication action plan. Employees who have or are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease (hyperlipidemia, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or tobacco dependency) are eligible to participate in a more in-depth, comprehensive program. In those cases, employees meet with a pharmacist between four and seven times a year.

The program provides an employee with a careful review of his or her current medications and over-the-counter supplements to assess safety, appropriateness, and effectiveness of the drug therapy based on information received from the employee and health care providers.The P3 pharmacist also reviews the employee's diet, smoking status, and exercise regimen, and assesses the employees' medical and medication histories and their knowledge of and adherence to their current medication therapy. The pharmacist also identifies potential and current drug-related problems such as side effects and dangerous medication interactions, and works collaboratively with employees and health care providers to set short-term and long-term self-management goals.

"Those who manage multiple health conditions or receive prescription medications from multiple health care providers are especially at risk for dangerous interactions and side effects," says Joshua Sharfstein, MD, secretary of the DHMH. "The Maryland P3 Program is a proven way to maximize the effectiveness of medications while improving communication between patients and their providers."

Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, BCPS, CDE, director of the Maryland P3 Program and professor and chair of the School's Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science, says, "We are extremely pleased to enter into this partnership with the state of Maryland to provide their employees with this evidence-based program that has proven to improve health and reduce costs. We look forward to demonstrating the program's positive results to determine the potential value-based benefit to the state."

Pharmacists' notes from sessions with the employee will be documented into ThinkEHRx, a pharmacist-focused case management system provided by the firm eHealthObjects, ThinkEHRx will house the program's clinical, behavioral, and medication-adherence data, including recommendations regarding the standard of care and health care provider referrals. At the end of each session, the pharmacist's written notes are forwarded to the employee's physician and/or health care provider to assure collaboration and continuity of care.

Posting Date: 05/13/2013
Contact Name: Steve Berberich
Contact Phone: 410-706-0023
Contact Email: sberb001@umaryland.edu