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Research Article
14 September 2015

Evaluation of an Integrated Adherence Program Aimed to Increase Medicare Part D Star Rating Measures

Publication: Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy
Volume 20, Number 12


BACKGROUND: The Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services (CMS) Plan Quality and Performance Program, or Star Ratings Program, allows Medicare beneficiaries to compare quality of care among available Medicare Advantage prescription drug (MA-PD) plans and stand-alone prescription drug plans (PDPs). Health plans have increased intervention efforts and applied existing care management infrastructure as an approach to improving member medication adherence and subsequent Part D star rating performance. Independent Care Health Plan (iCare), an MA-PD plan; MedImpact Healthcare Systems, Inc. (MedImpact), a pharmacy benefits manager; and US MED, a mail order pharmacy, partnered to engage and enroll iCare’s dual-eligible special needs population in an intervention designed to improve patient medication adherence and health plan performance for 3 Part D patient safety outcome measures: Medication Adherence for Oral Diabetes Medications (ODM), Medication Adherence for Hypertension (HTN), and Medication Adherence for Cholesterol (CHOL).
OBJECTIVES: To (a) assess the effectiveness of a coordinated member-directed medication adherence intervention and (b) determine the overall impact of the intervention on adherence rates and CMS Part D star rating adherence measures.
METHODS: Administrative pharmacy claims and health plan eligibility data from MedImpact’s databases were used to identify members using 3 target medication classes. Adherence was estimated by the proportion of days covered (PDC) for all members. Those members considered at high risk for nonadherence were prioritized for care management services. Risk factors were based on members’ use of more than 1 target medication class, newly started therapy, and suboptimal adherence (PDC  less than  80%) in the most recent 6-month period. Data files listing member adherence rates and contact information were formatted and loaded monthly into iCare’s care management system, which triggered an alert for care coordinators to counsel members on the importance of adherence and offer the members an option for monthly 30-day supply medication delivery via US MED. Member adherence rates were calculated 9 months pre- and postimplementation for all members and adjusted by length of member enrollment based on CMS technical specifications. Regression analysis assessed pre-post changes in rates comparing 2 intervention groups: (1) members receiving iCare counseling only (iCare-only) and (2) members receiving counseling and medication delivery (iCare + US MED). To evaluate the overall impact of the intervention, iCare’s adherence rates and iCare’s measure-specific star ratings for the 2011 and 2012 calendar years (CMS measurement years) were compared with the national MA-PD plan contract average and with a health plan similar in member characteristics but without adherence intervention exposure.
RESULTS: A total of 2,700 members were initially targeted for referral to iCare care management and US MED customer service specialist teams. Between April 2012 (implementation date) and January 2013, 1,302 (48.2%) members enrolled in the US MED component of the intervention. Seventy-six percent of identified members were nonadherent (PDC  less than  80%) to 1 of the 3 target medication classes, and 32% of members were nonadherent to more than 1 target medication class. Pre-post absolute average adherence rates increased for the iCare-only group (ODM = 15.1, HTN = 10.1, CHOL = 13.6) and the iCare-US MED group (ODM = 30.9, HTN = 25.5, CHOL = 29.4). From 2011 to 2012, iCare adherence rates increased by absolute differences of 15.2, 9.2, and 10.1 percentage points for ODM, HTN, and CHOL measures, respectively, compared with the average MA-PD plan contract differences (1.1, 2.1, and 2.5) and the comparator health plan differences (-2.7, -1.4, and -4.1). Increases in iCare’s adherence rates were associated with significant increases in iCare’s 2014 adherence measure star ratings (1 star to 3 stars for ODM and CHOL, 1 star to 2 stars for HTN), which contributed to increases in the Drug Plan Quality Improvement measure (2 stars to 4 stars) and iCare’s overall Part D star rating (3 to 3.5 stars).
CONCLUSIONS: Members in this MA-PD plan dual-eligible population benefited from multiple points of contact to achieve increased adherence. Health plans can use network pharmacies, care management staff, and their pharmacy benefits managers to collaborate and implement interventions aimed to improve members’ adherence to targeted maintenance medications and overall health plan quality performance and star ratings.

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Published In

cover image Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy
Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy
Volume 20Number 12December 2014
Pages: 1193 - 1203
PubMed: 25443513


Published in print: December 2014
Published online: 14 September 2015



R. Scott Leslie [email protected]
MedImpact Healthcare Systems, Inc., 10181 Scripps Gateway Ct., San Diego, CA 92131. [email protected]
Breanne Tirado
MedImpact Healthcare Systems, Inc., 10181 Scripps Gateway Ct., San Diego, CA 92131. [email protected]
Bimal V. Patel
MedImpact Healthcare Systems, Inc., 10181 Scripps Gateway Ct., San Diego, CA 92131. [email protected]
Philip J. Rein
MedImpact Healthcare Systems, Inc., 10181 Scripps Gateway Ct., San Diego, CA 92131. [email protected]

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