Integration of Pharmacies and Mental Health Centers Improves Adherence, Saves Money

Approximately 96% of patients adhered to mental health treatment under integrated model.

A recent study suggests that an integrated approach among mental health centers and pharmacies improves adherence and lowers costs.

A study published by the Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy analyzed Genoa Pharmacies’ integrated model that features onsite pharmacies in community mental health centers (CMHCs).

“Genoa pharmacists and technicians work closely with prescribers, nurses, and case managers at behavioral health clinics to provide compassionate, personalized care for each consumer,” said Mark Peterson, RPh, Genoa’s chief commercial officer and a co-author of the study. “Genoa pharmacies are just steps away from the prescribing doctor which makes it easier for people to pick up their medication.”

Their findings also showed that hospitalization and emergency department visits were lower among Genoa Pharmacy’s patients. Data from 2500 patients from 2 community health centers in Michigan were analyzed to determine outcomes compared with patients using Genoa’s pharmacies.

Previous studies have stated that the average adherence for antipsychotics was approximately 50%. However, researchers in the current study discovered a 93% adherence rate among Genoa patients taking antipsychotics.

Patients with mental health conditions taking various medications had an overall adherence rate of 96%.

“Millions of individuals with mental illness do not take their medications as prescribed, limiting their ability to overcome often debilitating symptoms and leading to higher healthcare costs,” Peterson said. “This study shows that centralizing clinical and pharmaceutical care for mental illness results in higher rates of medication adherence, which helps people live productive lives and reduces healthcare spending.”

They also found that Genoa patients had a 40% lower rate of behavioral health-related hospitalizations and an 18% lower rate of emergency department visits. Researchers estimated that the Genoa model saved $230,000 per 1378 patients included in the study over 13 months.

“The study looked at a very small subset of the total population Genoa serves, but if these outcomes are consistent across the population of over 500,000 consumers we serve nationally, the Genoa model theoretically represents hundreds of millions of dollars of cost savings to the healthcare system,” Peterson said.

For mental health disorders, medication management is extremely important, therefore, the pharmacists assist patients in managing their treatment, according to a press release from the company.

Genoa created a color-coded system to improve adherence, since it organizes medication by time and day.

“At Genoa, we have been measuring our own adherence rates for years and have consistently demonstrated medication adherence rates above 90%,” concluded Genoa’s CEO, John Figueroa. “This study published in the Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy provides further validation of our impact on consumers’ lives and is important information for payers and public policy officials as they evaluate reimbursement rates for specialized pharmacy services delivered through unique models like Genoa. Our team of dedicated professionals is passionate about helping individuals with mental illness overcome barriers and reclaim their lives. Together, with our community mental health center partners, we are improving the quality of peoples’ lives and saving the healthcare system millions of dollars.”