205572 Improving health outcomes for older adults through medication management, access to free or low cost prescriptions, and generics education

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Emily Ray Brock , MedAccess, Portland, ME
Sarah Gerrish, LSW , CarePartners, MaineHealth, Portland, ME
Carol Zechman, LCSW , CarePartners/MedAccess, MaineHealth, Portland, ME
Prescription drug costs are rising and many people are feeling the impact. Older adults, many of whom have fixed incomes and suffer from one or more chronic illnesses are especially vulnerable to the high cost of medications. Since 2005, MaineHealth's MedAccess program has worked to assist Maine people, including over 790 older adults, in accessing and understanding their medications using a variety of methods: direct assistance in applying to patient assistance programs (PAPs), medication management, public education classes, and recently, medication support for all hospital in-patients at Maine Medical Center (MMC) in Portland, Maine. To date, MedAccess has completed over 5,100 PAPs for a wholesale medication value of over $5.3 million dollars.

Our public education classes focus on cost strategizing to avoid the Medicare Part D doughnut hole, educating Part D enrollees about ‘total drug costs' and out-of-pocket expenses, and providing medication management information for older adults with chronic conditions, multiple prescriptions/ prescribers, and other health risks.

In June 2008, MedAccess began meeting with MMC in-patients to discuss medication issues, including 395 Medicare recipients within the first six months. To date, about 60% of in-patients with completed PAPs are age 50 or over. Early analysis of patient data is promising, and reveals a decreased risk of increased long-term complications/ disability after support from MedAccess. For example, MMC/ MedAccess patients with active PAP applications show 20% decrease in hospital charges and 48% decrease in hospital visits, as compared to the previous 365-day patient history of hospital use. Further data is forthcoming.

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss relationship between medication access, medication management and overall health outcomes, especially as related to older and/ or at-risk adults. 2. Identify multiple free and low-cost medication assistance programs and maximize their utilization.

Keywords: Access, Medicine

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was named the CarePartners/MedAccess Program Director in September, 2004. I have made previous presentations at the following conferences: Communities Joined in Action-Washington, DC, October 2007; Maine Public Health Association, and to local hospital boards and medical and case management staff grand rounds. MedAccess program staff presented at the Building Bridges in Patient Assistance Conference held in Washington DC, October, 2007. Prior to coming to MaineHealth, I was the Director of Community Support Services for a Portland-based Social Services Program. I hold a master’s degree in social work.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.