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02-19-2008, 07:36 PM
A ground-breaking analysis has been conducted to assess the validity of a tool that can form the basis of establishing or evaluating programs intended to assist patients managing complicated or costly medication therapies. The findings have been published in the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy as a supplement to its January issue, which also includes version 2.0 of Sound Medication Therapy Management Programs.

The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) contracted with the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) to conduct a field study of Sound Medication Therapy Management Programs, Version 1.0 and validate the document. Version 1.0 put forward several essential principles of sound medication therapy management (MTM) programs. The purpose of the NCQA study was to determine the extent to which the principles identified in version 1.0 were incorporated in real-life MTM programs.

In Phase One of the study, NCQA gathered perspectives on the principles in the document from a mixed group of stakeholders representing both providers and users of MTM programs. Phase Two involved a deeper analysis of existing programs related to the consensus document, and included a web-based survey of 20 varied MTM programs and in-depth site visits with five programs. NCQA selected programs offered by a broad range of MTM-providing organizations-health plans, pharmacy benefit management companies, disease management organizations and stand-alone providers-and analyzed the results of both phases. Phase Two found that some MTM programs perform beyond the principles included in version 1.0.

The important features and operational elements in the document were categorized into three overall categories, which NCQA used to structure the survey and conduct the site visits in Phase Two: eligibility and enrollment; operations; and quality management. NCQA found that none of the elements of the document should be eliminated because programs cannot perform them, although they suggested some areas where the document could be more expansive or more specific, given the state of MTM operation in the field. These suggestions led to the publication of version 2.0 of the document.

Judith Cahill, executive director of AMCP, said, "MTM-like services have existed in many forms for years, but with the advent of Medicare Part D, the Academy saw an opportunity to create a much-needed tool for pharmacy benefit plan managers to assess existing programs and services, evaluate patients' needs and build or amplify services that would meet the criteria established by CMS." Woody Eisenberg, MD FACP, vice president and chief medical officer for Medicare programs at Medco Health Solutions, Inc., concurred, saying, "I think it will prove to be a very valuable addition to the MTM literature. After all, so much is said and written with so little data. [This] study does a great job of telling us what is actually happening."

Cahill added, "The improvements now incorporated into version 2.0 make more effective benchmarking possible and should lead to substantiated best practices in this growing field." The JMCP supplement is available on the organization's website at here. (http://www.amcp.org/data/jmcp/JMCPSuppB_Jan08.pdf)

The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) is a national professional association of pharmacists and other health care practitioners who serve society by the application of sound medication management principles and strategies to improve health care for all. The Academy's 5,700 members develop and provide a diversified range of clinical, educational and business management services and strategies on behalf of the more than 200 million Americans covered by a managed care pharmacy benefit. More news and information about AMCP can be obtained on its website, at http://www.amcp.org (http://www.amcp.org/). The Academy will observe its 20th Annual Meeting in 2008.

Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (http://www.amcp.org/)