Pharmacy Program Offers Medication Therapy Management Services to Low-income, At-Risk Patients

12/02/2016

Primary care physicians (PCPs) often don’t have adequate time to manage the complex medication needs of patients with chronic conditions. PCPs working in federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) who care for low-income, at-risk patients face “particularly large barriers,” according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). This lack of time can contribute to low patient adherence to medication regimens.

Thus, Jennifer Rodis, PharmD, BCPS, FAPhA, assistant dean for Outreach and Engagement at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, and Barbara Pryor, MS, RD, LD, manager of the Chronic Disease Section in the Ohio Department of Health, established a statewide consortium that provides resources for Ohio FQHCs to offer pharmacist-led medication therapy management (MTM) services to patients with diabetes or hypertension. Rodis and Pryor reported on the consortium in a recent issue of AHRQ’s Health Care Innovations Exchange.

The consortium includes not only Ohio State University and the Ohio Department of Health, but also the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers, Ohio Pharmacists Association, Health Services Advisory Group, and the other six colleges of Pharmacy in Ohio. The consortium was developed to allow pharmacists to utilize medication therapy management (MTM) services to improve the health and wellness of underserved Ohio citizens living with chronic diseases. “This endeavor brings best practices from across the state together,” said Rodis. “We seek to serve as a resource to support expansion of pharmacist-provided MTM and, thus, help Ohio’s citizens make the best use of their medications for optimal health and wellness.”   

At its onset, program leaders from the ODH, the College of Pharmacy, and the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers met with participating pharmacists to familiarize them with the program. In turn, the pharmacists introduced the program to clinicians and staff at their respective practice sites. Each month, participating groups check in with the consortium to give status updates and receive guidance on areas that need refining.

The consortium has markedly increased the number of FQHCs offering pharmacist-led MTM services and has boosted interest in MTM. When the program began in 2013, very few of Ohio’s 41 FQCHs in Ohio had pharmacist-led MTM programs. Today, twelve FQHCs participate in the consortium.

The program has seen positive results. During the first year, three participating sites enrolled nearly 400 eligible patients with uncontrolled hypertension or diabetes. By the end of the year, 68 percent of the hypertensive patients had controlled their blood pressure; 45 percent of patients with diabetes were controlling their hemoglobin A1c. The pharmacists providing MTM addressed 75 adverse drug events and resolved 145 potential events.

The program was seeded with a grant from Ohio Department of Health. Other collaborating organizations include the Health Services Advisory Group and six Ohio-based colleges of pharmacy.