College of Pharmacy, Partners Launch ACO-MTM Model Study

August 21, 2013

Medication Therapy Management (MTM) industry leader OutcomesMTM has partnered with the University of Iowa and UnityPoint Health – Trinity Pioneer ACO in a two-year study that aims to determine the success of integrating MTM services provided by local pharmacists into an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model.

“We are excited to be involved in a program so integral to defining the role of the community pharmacist in coordinating care within the emerging ACO model,” said Jessica Frank, '07 PharmD, Vice President, OutcomesMTM. “We believe pharmacists within the community are a necessary partner in achieving the goals of the triple aim.”

Funded by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation, this study aims to assess the effect of community pharmacist-delivered MTM services on hospital readmission rates, incidence of adverse drug events and healthcare costs for ACO patients. Spearheading the study is a team of pharmacists, pharmacy managers, consumers, physician advisors, ACO program directors and administrators, and university professors.

Nearly 10,000 Medicare beneficiaries of Trinity Pioneer ACO will be eligible for MTM services, and approximately 25 local pharmacists and ACO personnel throughout an eight-county region in Central Iowa will deliver MTM services for the study.

“Pharmacists routinely provide medications which are important agents for prescribers to help patients reach their health goals but if not taken correctly can cause complications resulting in suboptimal outcomes. When pharmacists are included on the healthcare team, we can provide information for the safest and most effective use of medications, so patients achieve their goals more effectively, efficiently and safely,” said Chris Donner, Hy-Vee Pharmacy, Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Trinity Pioneer ACO’s first step in the process will be to identify patients likely to benefit from MTM services, such as those with high-risk chronic conditions or advanced medical conditions, or those transitioning from hospital care. OutcomesMTM will then coordinate MTM services through its web-based MTM platform, which enables the notification of a patient’s need for MTM services. The OutcomesMTM platform also facilitates claims processing and payments as well as aggregates MTM claims data for later analyses.  

The services pharmacists will provide to targeted Trinity Pioneer ACO patients include consultations for newly diagnosed chronic conditions, post-discharge medication reconciliation and ongoing medication management to address issues of non-adherence. The Iowa Pharmacy Association (IPA) will help prepare the local pharmacy sites to deliver MTM services through continuing education and support meeting discussions among pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and physicians. OutcomesMTM will train the pharmacies on the covered services, as well as how to document and bill within the OutcomesMTM Connect™ platform.

“Managing your health becomes more difficult if you are taking more than one kind of medication. Medication Therapy Management helps you get the most from your medicines,” said Dick Michael, patient advocate for the Trinity Pioneer ACO. “My pharmacist is another resource on my healthcare team. He or she is a healthcare professional I can rely on and talk to easily. My pharmacist is working to make me healthier.”

The program is scheduled to continue through August 2015. Findings will be distributed via a report to the NACDS Foundation, presentations at national meetings and conferences, and various scholarly publications.