To boost patient participation in these valuable programs, follow a script that emphasizes the benefits.
MEDICATION THERAPY MANAGEMENT (MTM) PROGRAMS OFFER GREAT BENEFITS, and pharmacists play a key role in promoting these services to patients and other health care professionals.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services requires Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans and stand-alone Medicare Part D plans to offer eligible patients a comprehensive medication review (CMR) each year through their MTM programs.1 The CMRs should be interactive, patient-centric (personalized health care), and performed in person or via telehealth.
COVERING SCRIPTED POINTS
Initiating MTM services can prove challenging, especially when contacting patients for the first time. The results of a study published in the Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy evaluated the effectiveness of a standardized CMR recruitment script emphasizing the services’ benefits to increase acceptance of CMR offers among Medicare prescription drug plan beneficiaries.1 This was the first randomized controlled trial to compare the effectiveness of 2 telephone participation scripts (original and updated) for CMRs. The updated script included features such as the purpose of the call, benefits and potential barriers to participation from the members’ perspective, CMR characteristics, review of information, and opportunity for questions. The results showed that, compared with original, the more engaging script better promoted member willingness to participate in a CMR.1
A script from the American Pharmacists Association includes frequently asked questions about MTM services (see FIGURE).2 Pharmacists can introduce themselves and provide background about CMRs and targeted medication reviews. Referring to the CMR as an annual pharmacy checkup offers a great way to let patients know that all OTC and prescription medications will be reviewed, and the services are usually covered by the health plan. Additionally, pharmacists can give recommendations about medication cost savings during the consult. They should also emphasize that the MTM consult information, including any medication changes that would be beneficial, will be shared with the patient’s physician.2
In an interview with Pharmacy Times®, Rochelle Kugler, RPh, CCP, a pharmacist practicing in a federally qualified health center in New Jersey, discussed promotion of MTM services. “In previous roles, I’ve been able to serve my patients by offering CMRs, adherence consultations, and quarterly targeted medication reviews,” she said.
The most common disease states Kugler encounters are chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension. She conducts most of her MTM consults over the phone. “There can be some hesitancy from the public when they receive a call from the pharmacist to perform a CMR,” Kugler said.
Most patients are not familiar with MTM services and may not understand all the benefits, whereas others are concerned about privacy and hesitate to provide personal medical information over the phone, according to Kugler. “All these are valid concerns, so it’s important to have a well-thought-out script in place. I have found it helpful to make an initial call to eligible recipients to simply explain what an MTM is, [tell them] that they are now eligible for the yearly CMR as a benefit of their plan, and inquire about a convenient time for them to speak with me,” she said.
At times, a member will decline the service, asking, “Doesn’t my doctor do this?” Kugler said. She emphasized that the question affords a great opportunity to promote MTM services: “Pharmacists are the medication experts and are in a unique position to see everything the patient is being prescribed from all providers.”
Pharmacists can tell patients that they will take a deep dive into the medication list, including OTC products such as herbal and vitamin supplements, to help them feel more knowledgeable about their chronic conditions and medications.
If pill burden or prescription costs is a concern, Kugler lets patients know that they can discuss cost-effective alternatives with their prescribers. She also tells patients that CMRs are valuable services provided as a benefit from their insurance plans but may be offered just once a year.
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh, is a drug information pharmacist and Pharmacy Times® contributor who resides in South Florida.