Article

Pharmacy benefits management in the Veterans Health Administration: 1995 to 2003.

Pharmacy Benefits Management Strategic Healthcare Group, Department of Veterans Affairs, 1st Ave, 1 Blk N of Cermak Rd, Bldg 37, Room 139, Hines, IL 60141, USA.
The American journal of managed care (Impact Factor: 2.17). 03/2005; 11(2):104-12.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Pharmacy Benefits Management Strategic Healthcare Group (VA PBM) oversees the formulary for the entire VA system, which serves more than 4 million veterans and provides more than 108 million prescriptions per year. Since its establishment in 1995, the VA PBM has managed pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical-related policies, including drug safety and efficacy evaluations, pharmacologic management algorithms, and criteria for drug use. These evidence-based practices promote, optimize, and assist VA providers with the safe and appropriate use of pharmaceuticals while allowing for formulary decisions that can result in substantial cost savings. The VA PBM also has utilized various contracting techniques to standardize generic agents as well as specific drugs and drug classes (eg, antihistamines, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, alpha-blockers, and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors [statins]). These methods have enabled the VA to save approximately dollar 1.5 billion since 1996 even as drug expenditures continued to rise from roughly dollar 1 billion in fiscal year (FY) 1996 to more than dollar 3 billion in FY 2003. Furthermore, the VA PBM has established an outcomes research section to undertake quality-improvement and safety initiatives that ultimately monitor and determine the clinical impact of formulary decisions on the VA system nationwide. The experiences of this pharmacy benefits program, including clinical and contracting processes/procedures and their impact on the VA healthcare system, are described.

1 Bookmark
 · 
165 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cancer costs continue to increase alarmingly despite much debate about how they can be reduced. The oncology community needs to take greater responsibility for our own practice patterns, especially when using expensive tests and treatments with marginal value: we cannot continue to accept novel therapeutics with very small benefits for exorbitant prices. Patients, payers, and pharmaceutical communities should be constructively engaged to communicate medically and economically possible goals, and eventually, to reduce use and costs. Diagnostic tests and treatments should have to show true value to be added to existing protocols. In this article, we discuss three key drivers of costs: end-of-life care patterns, medical imaging, and drugs. We propose health-care models that have the potential to decrease costs and discuss solutions to maintain clinical benefit at an affordable price.
    The Lancet Oncology 02/2014; · 25.12 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Treatment with specific beta-blockers and doses recommended by guidelines is often not achieved in practice. We evaluated an intervention directed to the pharmacy to improve prescribing. We conducted a pragmatic cluster-randomized trial, where facilities (n = 12) with patients (n = 220) were the clusters. Eligible patients had a beta-blocker prescription that was not guideline concordant. Level 1 intervention included information to a pharmacist on facility guideline concordance. Level 2 also provided a list of patients not meeting guideline goals. Intervention and follow-up periods were each 6 months. Achievement of full concordance with recommendations was low (4%-5%) in both groups, primarily due to lack of tolerability. However, compared with level 1, the level 2 intervention was associated with 1.9-fold greater odds of improvement in prescribing (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1-3.2). Level 2 patients also had greater odds of a higher dose (1.9, 95% CI 1.1-3.3). The intervention was aided by the patient lists provided, the electronic medical record system, and staff support. In actual practice, full achievement of guideline goals was low. However, a simple intervention targeting pharmacy moved patients toward guideline goals. As health care systems incorporate electronic medical records, this intervention should have broader feasibility.
    Journal of cardiac failure 08/2013; 19(8):525-32. · 3.07 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Minimal-risk randomized trials that can be embedded in practice could facilitate learning health-care systems. A cluster-randomized design was proposed to compare treatment strategies by assigning clusters (eg, providers) to "favor" a particular drug, with providers retaining autonomy for specific patients. Patient informed consent might be waived, broadening inclusion. However, it is not known if providers will adhere to the assignment or whether institutional review boards will waive consent. We evaluated the feasibility of this trial design. Agreeable providers were randomized to "favor" either hydrochlorothiazide or chlorthalidone when starting patients on thiazide-type therapy for hypertension. The assignment applied when the provider had already decided to start a thiazide, and providers could deviate from the strategy as needed. Prescriptions were aggregated to produce a provider strategy-adherence rate. All four institutional review boards waived documentation of patient consent. Providers (n=18) followed their assigned strategy for most of their new thiazide prescriptions (n=138 patients). In the "favor hydrochlorothiazide" group, there was 99% adherence to that strategy. In the "favor chlorthalidone" group, chlorthalidone comprised 77% of new thiazide starts, up from 1% in the pre-study period. When the assigned strategy was followed, dosing in the recommended range was 48% for hydrochlorothiazide (25-50 mg/day) and 100% for chlorthalidone (12.5-25.0 mg/day). Providers were motivated to participate by a desire to contribute to a comparative effectiveness study. A study promotional mug, provider information letter, and interactions with the site investigator were identified as most helpful in reminding providers of their study drug strategy. Providers prescribed according to an assigned drug-choice strategy most of the time for the purpose of a comparative effectiveness study. This simple design could facilitate research participation and behavior change in non-research clinicians. Waiver of patient consent can broaden the representation of patients, providers, and settings.
    Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management 01/2014; 10:905-912. · 1.34 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Download
256 Downloads
Available from
May 16, 2014