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Incentives and Pharmacist Coaches Lead to Improved Health and Lower Health Care Costs for Diabetic Patients

MBGH program helps Chicago employers reduce costs by $1,467 per participant

CHICAGO, May 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the non-profit Midwest Business Group on Health announced the first-year results of Taking Control of Your Health (TCYH), an employer-based diabetes management program, at its annual conference being held May 7-8. The results indicate high satisfaction, cost savings and improvement in key clinical indicators used to measure how well a patient is managing their diabetes. In just one year, the employers' return on investment of actual savings per participant was $1,467 or $126,162 for all 86 participants, compared to the projected costs for diabetics not in the program. Average total health care costs for participants declined by almost $625.

The TCYH program, which now has over 200 participating patients, is open to covered employees, dependents and retirees from employer members of the Midwest Business Group on Health. There are three unique elements of the program: 1) The employer reduces or waives co-pays for diabetic drugs and supplies; 2) The patient signs an agreement that commits them to education and face-to-face coaching on diabetes self-management in return for the reduced drug costs; and 3) Pharmacists are trained as diabetes coaches to assist patients on a regular basis. MBGH partners with the Illinois Pharmacist Association to train pharmacists in patient education, monitoring of clinical conditions and motivation according to guidelines of the American Diabetes Association. The objective is to enable patients to reach individual goals for medication compliance, fitness and weight management.

The first-year results looked at 86 participants who received benefits from four Chicago-area based employers: the City of Naperville, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, Hospira and Pactiv Corporation.

"Not only did we realize an improvement in clinical indicators and cost savings, but we were pleased to see a high level of satisfaction from our participating employees regarding their overall diabetes care," said Judith Hearn, Health and Welfare manager for Pactiv Corporation. "This program has enabled us to provide our employees that have diabetes with additional tools and support to help them actively manage their condition as well as incentives for them to take action."

MBGH was one of more than 30 employer groups throughout the country that participated in the Diabetes Ten City Challenge, a national employer-based diabetes self-management program conducted by the American Pharmacists Association Foundation through its HealthMapRx(TM) program, with support from GlaxoSmithKline. Taking Control of Your Health is the ongoing program coordinated by MBGH, in cooperation with the Illinois Pharmacists Association and is supported by Novo Nordisk, Inc. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Sanofi Aventis, through a grant from the National Business Coalition on Health. The program was endorsed by the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians and the Institute of Medicine of Chicago.

"Through this program, we've demonstrated the value of collaboration between patients, physicians and pharmacists to improve care and reduce costs," said Larry Boress, MBGH president and CEO. "A key barrier to improvement in chronic disease is the lack of medication compliance. Rarely does someone just have diabetes - they often have other conditions, including hypertension, cardiac problems and depression, requiring them to take an average of five to 13 medications. Having a pharmacist coach helps patients understand the importance of taking these their drugs and managing their health."

The Midwest Business Group on Health is expanding the Taking Control of Your Health program to all interested employers during 2009 and plans to expand to other critical health care needs such as asthma, cardiovascular conditions and depression. Employers interested in this program are invited to contact MBGH.

"The results of this program show the effectiveness of having pharmacists establish relationships with program participants to serve as diabetes coaches," said Starlin Haydon-Greatting, RPh, clinical project coordinator, Illinois Pharmacists Association. "In addition to the physician community, the involvement of pharmacists serving as coach, clinician and cheerleader for patients has been invaluable in helping patients manage their diabetes."

About the APhA Foundation

The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Foundation, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a non-profit organization affiliated with the American Pharmacists Association, the national professional society of pharmacists in the U.S. The Foundation has expertise in designing programs to seek to create a new medication use system in the U.S. where patients, pharmacists, physicians and other health care providers collaborate to dramatically improve the cost and quality of consumer health outcomes through safe and effective use of medications.

About the Illinois Pharmacists Association

The Illinois Pharmacists Association is Illinois' largest and oldest organization representing pharmacy. IPhA is dedicated to enhancing the professional competency of pharmacists, advancing the standards of pharmacy practice, improving pharmacists' effectiveness in assuring rational drug use in society, and leading in the resolution of public policy issues affecting pharmacists.

About the Midwest Business Group on Health

The Midwest Business Group on Health (MBGH) is one of the nation's leading business groups of private and public employers. MBGH's nearly 100 members represent over 2 million lives, spending more than $2.5 billion on health care benefits on an annual basis. The nonprofit MBGH offers employers and the community a variety of health benefit educational seminars, networking opportunities, quality and community initiatives, demonstration projects and group purchasing programs. MBGH is a member of the National Business Coalition on Health.

SOURCE Midwest Business Group on Health
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