The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently featured the California Right Meds Collaborative (CRMC) in its Field Notes publication, which spotlights success and innovation in health programs across the country.
CRMC is a pharmacist-led initiative founded at USC, in partnership with several health plans, including L.A. Care Health Plan and Inland Empire Health Plan, to improve health outcomes in local communities, decrease health care and medication costs, improve physician access, and reduce avoidable hospitalizations. Pharmacists in the program provide clinical services to Medi-Cal, Medicare and Covered California patients in Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire who have persistently uncontrolled health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma.
Patients referred to participate in the program meet regularly with their pharmacist in person or through telehealth visits for comprehensive medication management, which includes evaluating all medications and making changes or recommendations in partnership with the patient’s physician, and following up until patients reach treatment targets. Patients receive education and counseling on proper medication use and self-management, and they receive extensive monitoring for efficacy/safety and dose adjustments. Pharmacists can also alert physicians if new problems come up or the patient’s health doesn’t improve.
A major challenge is aggregating key clinical measures from participating pharmacies. This has been addressed through a partnership with Arine, an AI-driven medication management platform company that not only facilitates uniform data entry, but also generates recommendations for gaps in healthcare and social needs and produces reports to facilitate a rigorous continuous quality improvement process.
Following an interim analysis conducted in May 2022 with L.A. Care Health Plan, Field Notes highlighted the program’s success:
* Average decrease in systolic blood pressure for patients with BP>140/90 at baseline was -34 mmHg
* Statin use increased for those whom statins were clinically indicated, from 42% at baseline to 90%
* Average HbA1c value decreased by 3.3 points
“By leveraging community pharmacies as local health hubs, patients who struggle with chronic disease control have easy access to comprehensive medication management, a service that optimizes medication therapy, as well as assistance with resources for social needs,” said Steven Chen, associate dean for clinical affairs at USC Mann, who founded the program. “The California Right Meds Collaborative allows pharmacists to collaborate with physicians to fully utilize their training for the benefit of patients, physicians and the community through value based payments from health plans. It’s one of the few healthcare programs where all stakeholders benefit.”
Learn more about the California Right Meds Collaborative, a consortium of health plans, pharmacies, academic and professional organizations in Southern California delivering high-impact comprehensive medication management through a value-based payment model, at www.calrightmeds.org.