Both State and Federal Marketplaces Expanded Medicaid/Chip Coverage to Eligible Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Julie L. Hudson, PhD Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Rockville, Maryland

Dr. Hudson

Julie L. Hudson, PhD
Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Rockville, Maryland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Since 2013, public coverage has increased not only among low-income adults newly eligible for Medicaid but also among children and adults who were previously eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Recent research has shown that growth in public coverage varied by state-level policy choices.

In this paper we study the growth in public coverage (Medicaid/CHIP) for three population samples living in Medicaid Expansion states between 2013 and 2015: previously eligible children, previously eligible parents, and newly eligible parents by state-level marketplace policies (Note: eligibility refers to eligible for Medicaid/CHIP, eligibility for marketplace subsidized coverage). All marketplaces are required to assess each applicants’ eligibility for both the marketplace and for Medicaid/CHIP. States running state-based marketplaces are required to enroll Medicaid-/CHIP-eligible applicants directly into public coverage (Medicaid or CHIP), but states using federally-facilitated marketplaces can opt to require their marketplace to forward these cases to state Medicaid/CHIP authorities for final eligibility determination and enrollment. We study the impact of marketplace policies on public coverage by observing changes in the probability Medicaid-/CHIP-eligible children and parents are enrolled in public coverage across three marketplace structures: state-based marketplaces that are required to enroll Medicaid-/CHIP-eligible applicants directly into public coverage, federally-facilitated marketplaces in states that enroll Medicaid-/CHIP-eligible applicants directly into public coverage, and federally-facilitated marketplaces with no authority to enroll Medicaid-/CHIP-eligible applicants into public coverage.

Supporting the existing literature, we find that public coverage grew between 2013-2015 for all three of our samples of Medicaid-/CHIP-eligible children and parents living in Medicaid expansion states. However, we show that growth in public coverage was smallest in expansion states that adopted a federally-facilitated marketplace and gave no authority to the marketplace to enroll Medicaid-/CHIP-eligible applicants directly into public coverage. Additionally, once we account for enrollment authority, we found no differences in growth of public coverage for eligible children and parents living in expansion states that adopted a state-based marketplace versus those in states that adopted a federally-facilitated marketplaces with the authority to directly enroll Medicaid-/CHIP-eligible applicants Continue reading

Medicaid Expansion Improved Access to Cardiac Care Without Diminishing Outcomes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Donald Likosky, Ph.D., M.S. Associate Professor Head of the Section of Health Services Research and Quality Department of Cardiac Surgery. University of Michigan

Dr. Likosky

Donald Likosky, Ph.D., M.S.
Associate Professor
Head of the Section of Health Services Research and Quality
Department of Cardiac Surgery.
University of Michigan

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Michigan was one of several states to expand Medicaid. Current evaluations of the Michigan Medicaid expansion program have noted increases in primary care services and health risk assessments, but less work has evaluated its role within a specialty service line. There has been concern among some that Medicaid patients, who have traditionally lacked access to preventive services, may be at high risk for poor clinical outcomes if provided increased access to cardiovascular interventions.

Using data from two physician-led quality collaboratives, we evaluated the volume and outcomes of percutaneous coronary interventions and coronary artery bypass grafting 24mos before and 24mos after expansion. We noted large-scale increased access to both percutaneous coronary interventions (44.5% increase) and coronary artery bypass grafting (103.8% increase) among patients with Medicaid insurance. There was a decrease in access for patients with private insurance in both cohorts. Nonetheless, outcomes (clinical and resource utilization) were not adversely impacted by expansion.  Continue reading

Medicaid Expansion Led To Better, More Timely Surgical Care

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Andrew Phillip Loehrer MD MPH Fellow in Surgical Oncology Department The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Dr. Loehrer

Andrew Phillip Loehrer MD MPH
Fellow in Surgical Oncology Department
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: A growing number of studies have examined the effects of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.  But none to date have looked at effects on surgical conditions, which are both expensive and potentially life-threatening.  We examined data for nearly 300,000 patients who presented to hospitals with common and serious surgical conditions such as appendicitis and aortic aneurysms.

We found that expansion of Medicaid coverage was linked to increased insurance coverage for these patients, but even more importantly, Medicaid expansion led patients to come to the hospital earlier before complications set in, and they also received better surgical care once they got there.

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Medicaid Expansion Linked To Decreased Infant Mortality, Especially Among African Americans

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Chintan Bhatt  MBBS, MPH    (HE/HIM/HIS) Department of Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, Florida International University Miami Fl 

Dr. Bhatt

Chintan Bhatt  MBBS, MPH    (HE/HIM/HIS)
Department of Health Promotion & Disease Prevention,
Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work,
Florida International University
Miami Fl 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Women and children are disproportionately affected by the uncertainty around medical health insurance rising in the United States. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was implemented on Jan 1st, 2014, since then the uninsured rate decreased considerably, especially in women aged 18 to 64 years. ACA revised and expanded Medicaid eligibility. Under the law, all U.S. citizens and legal residents with income up to 133% of the poverty line, including adults without dependent children, would qualify for coverage in any state that participated in the Medicaid program. Because of the large proportion of maternal, infant, and child health care and preventive services funded by Medicaid. The purpose of our study was to examine the potential effect of Medicaid expansion on infant mortality rates by comparing infant mortality rate trends in states and Washington D.C. by Medicaid expansion acceptance or decline.

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Increased Prenatal Care Linked To State Medicaid Expansion

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Laura Wherry credit: UCLA Health

Dr. Laura Wherry
credit: UCLA Health

Laura R. Wherry, Ph.D.
Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Los Angeles, CA 90024 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: All states provide Medicaid coverage to pregnant women, but many low-income women do not qualify for the program when they are not pregnant. However, state decisions to expand Medicaid coverage to low-income parents and adults allow low-income women to have Medicaid coverage prior to, and between, their pregnancies. Increased health insurance coverage for low-income women during these non-pregnancy periods may help improve their preconception health and their planning of pregnancies, ultimately leading to healthier pregnancies and infants.

This study examines how state expansions in Medicaid coverage for low-income parents before the Affordable Care Act affected the health insurance status of mothers prior to additional pregnancies (i.e. their pre-pregnancy health insurance status). I also examine whether there are changes in pregnancy intention (i.e. whether the pregnancy was mistimed or unwanted), as better access to pre-pregnancy insurance coverage could increase contraception utilization and improve the planning of pregnancies.

Finally, I examine whether there were changes in insurance coverage during pregnancy and in the utilization of prenatal care, since women who have pre-pregnancy insurance coverage may experience fewer barriers to establishing care during their pregnancies.

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Medicaid Work Requirements May Have Unintended Consequences on Costs and Enrollees

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Renuka Tipirneni, MD, MSc Clinical Lecturer in Internal Medicine University of Michigan Department of Internal Medicine, Division of General Medicine, and Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation Ann Arbor, MI

Dr. Tipirneni

Renuka Tipirneni, MD, MSc
Clinical Lecturer in Internal Medicine
University of Michigan Department of Internal Medicine, Division of General Medicine, and
Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation
Ann Arbor, MI

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Several states have submitted proposals to require Medicaid expansion enrollees to work, actively seek work or volunteer, or risk losing Medicaid coverage. The current federal administration has signaled a willingness to approve the waivers states need to enact such requirements.

In our survey of over 4000 Medicaid expansion enrollees in Michigan, we found that nearly half of enrollees have jobs, another 11 percent can’t work, likely due to serious physical or mental health conditions, and another 27% are out of work but also are much more likely to be in poor health.

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Declining Medicaid Fees Translates To Fewer Available Primary Care Appointments

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Molly Candon, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Candon

Molly Candon, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics
Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research
University of Pennsylvania

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We conducted a secret shopper study in 2012, 2014, and 2016 in which simulated Medicaid patients called primary care practices and attempted to schedule an appointment. When Medicaid fees were increased to Medicare levels in 2013 and 2014, primary care appointment availability increased. Once the federally-funded program ended in 2015, most states returned to lower fees. As expected, provider participation in Medicaid declined as well.

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Penalties for Readmissions Widens Financial Losses At Delta Safety Net Hospitals

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hsueh-Fen Chen, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Health Policy and Management College of Public Health University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock, AR 72205

Dr. Chen

Hsueh-Fen Chen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Health Policy and Management
College of Public Health
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Little Rock, AR 72205

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) and Hospital Value-based Purchasing (HVBP) Program in 2011 and implemented the two programs in 2013. These two programs financially motivate hospitals to reduce readmission rates and improve quality of care, efficiency, and patient experience. The Mississippi Delta Region is one of the most impoverished areas in the country, with a high proportion of minorities occupying in the region.  Additionally, these hospitals are  safety-net resources for the poor. It was largely unknown what the financial performance for the hospitals in the Mississippi Delta Region was under the HRRP and HVBP programs.

Dr. Chen and colleagues in the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences compared the financial performance between Delta hospitals and non-Delta hospitals (namely, other hospitals in the nation) from 2008 through 2014 that were covered before and after the implementation of the HRRP and HVBP programs. The financial performance was measured by using the operating margin (profitability from patient care) and total margin (profitability from patient care and non-patient care)

Before the implementation of the HRRP and HVBP programs, Delta hospitals had weaker financial performance than non-Delta hospitals but their differences were not statistically significant. After the implementation of the HRRP and HVBP programs, the gap in financial performance between Delta and non-Delta hospitals became wider and significant. The unadjusted operating margin for Delta hospitals was about -4.0% in 2011 and continuously fell to -10.4% in 2014, while the unadjusted operating margin for non-Delta hospitals was about 0.1% in 2011 and dropped to -1.5% in 2014. The unadjusted total margin for Delta hospitals significantly fell from 3.6% in 2012 to 1.1% in 2013 and reached 0.2% in 2014, while the unadjusted total margin for non-Delta hospitals remained about 5.3% from 2012 through 2014. After adjusting hospital and community characteristics, the difference in financial performance between Delta and non-Delta remained significant.

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Coordination Program Reduced ER Visits and Readmissions in Medicaid Population

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Roberta Capp MD Assistant Professor Director for Care Transitions in the Department of Emergency Medicine University of Colorado School of Medicine Medical Director of Colorado Access Medicaid Aurora Colorado

Dr. Capp

Roberta Capp MD
Assistant Professor
Director for Care Transitions in the Department of Emergency Medicine
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Medical Director of Colorado Access Medicaid
Aurora Colorado

 

 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Medicaid clients are at highest risk for utilizing the hospital system due to barriers in accessing outpatient services and social determinants.

We have found that providing care management services improves primary care utilization, which leads to better chronic disease management and reductions in emergency department use and hospital admissions.

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Medicaid Patients May Not Have Access to IVIG for Autoimmune Blistering Diseases

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kyle T. Amber, MD

Department of Dermatology
UC Irvine Health
Irvine, CA 92697-2400 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The use of IVIg has been shown in randomized controlled trials to be safe and highly effective in the treatment of both pemphigus and bullous pemphigoid. Despite its efficacy, its cost remains a deterrent to its use. Cost studies in the United States point towards IVIg being an overall cost-saving therapy in the treatment of  Autoimmune Blistering Diseases when compared to traditional immunosuppressive treatment due to the decrease in associated infections, complications, and hospitalizations.

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Patients With Social Risks Are More Expensive and Require Greater Medicaid Resources

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-arlene-S-Ash.jpg

Dr. Ash

Arlene S. Ash, PhD
Department of Quantitative Health Sciences
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Worcester 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: State Medicaid programs (and other health care purchasers) often contract with several managed care organizations, each of which agrees to address all health care needs for some of their beneficiaries. Suppose a Medicaid program has $5000 to spend, on average, for each of its 1 million beneficiaries. How much should they pay health plan “A” for the particular 100,000 beneficiaries it enrolls? If some group, such as those who are homeless, is much more expensive to care for than the payment, plans that try to provide good care for many such people will go broke. We describe the model now used by MassHealth to ensure that plans get more money for enrolling patients with greater medical and social needs. In this medical-social model, about 10% of total dollars is allocated by factors other than the medical-morbidity risk score.

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State ACA Expansions Linked To Large Increase In Prescription Drugs Paid For By Medicaid

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Benjamin D. Sommers, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Health Policy & Economics
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health / Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Boston, MA 02115 and
Kosali Simon PhD
School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Prescription drugs are considered a high value form of medical care, and can be especially difficult for the uninsured to access. The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion represents an unprecedented expansion of insurance to low-income non-disabled adults, and our study is the first to examine the effects on prescription utilization in detail.

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Buprenorphine Prescriptions for Opioid Use Disorder Rise With Medicaid Expansion

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hefei Wen, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Health Management & Policy University of Kentucky College of Public Health

Dr.Hefei Wen

Hefei Wen, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Health Management & Policy
University of Kentucky College of Public Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Buprenorphine has been proven effective in treating opioid use disorder. However, the high cost of buprenorphine and the limited prescribing capacity may restrict access to this effective medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder.

We found a 70% increase in Medicaid-covered buprenorphine prescriptions and a 50% increase in buprenorphine spending associated with the implementation of Medicaid expansions in 26 states during 2014. Physician prescribing capacity was also associated with increased buprenorphine prescriptions and spending.

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Economic Effects of Medicaid Expansion in Michigan

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

John Z. Ayanian, MD, MPP</strong> Director of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation and Alice Hamilton Professor of Medicine University of Michigan

Dr. John Z. Ayanian

John Z. Ayanian, MD, MPP
Director of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation and
Alice Hamilton Professor of Medicine
University of Michigan

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our study assessed the broad economic impact of Medicaid expansion in Michigan – one of several Republican-led states that have chosen to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. About 600,000 low-income adults in Michigan are covered through the program, known as the Healthy Michigan Plan, which began in April 2014.

Using an economic modeling tool that is also used to advise the state government for fiscal planning, we found that federal funding for the Healthy Michigan Plan is associated with over 30,000 additional jobs, about $2.3 billion in increased personal income in Michigan, and about $150 million in additional state tax revenue annually. One third of the new jobs are in health care, and 85 percent are in the private sector. The state is also saving $235 million annually that it would have spent on other safety net programs if Medicaid had not been expanded.

Thus, the total economic impact of the Healthy Michigan Plan is generating more than enough funds for the state budget to cover the state’s cost of the program from 2017 through 2021. Beginning in 2017, states are required to cover 5 percent of the costs of care for Medicaid expansion enrollees, and the state share of these costs will rise to 10 percent in 2020. The remaining costs are covered by federal funding.

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Association Between the 2014 Medicaid Expansion and US Hospital Finances Under Obamacare

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Fredric Blavin, PhD The Urban Institute Washington, DC

Dr. Fredric Blavin

Fredric Blavin, PhD
The Urban Institute
Washington, DC 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid eligibility to millions of low-income adults. However, the US Supreme Court struck down the mandatory expansion of Medicaid and ruled that each state could choose whether to expand this entitlement program. This choice could affect the financial health of hospitals by decreasing patient volumes and unreimbursed expenses attributable to uninsured patients while increasing revenue from newly covered patients. The impact of Medicaid expansion on hospital profits remains uncertain, particularly for hospitals that receive generous subsidies from state or local governments for providing uncompensated care. 

This analysis focused on the association between Medicaid expansion in 2014 and hospital finances by assessing differences between hospitals in states that expanded Medicaid and those in states that did not expand Medicaid.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response:  Overall, the 2014 expansion of Medicaid was associated with a decline of $2.8 million in average annual uncompensated care costs per hospital and an increase of $3.2 million in average annual Medicaid revenue per hospital. Medicaid expansion was also significantly associated with improved excess margins (1.1 percentage points) but not with improved operating margins. The estimated associations were also larger in states with high uninsurance rates prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Hospitals in states that implemented the Medicaid expansion saw significant increases in Medicaid revenue, decreases in uncompensated care costs, and improvements in profit margins, compared with hospitals in states that did not expand Medicaid.

However, the estimates based on profit margin models were less precise and less robust than the other findings. This is not surprising, given the various factors that can influence the overall profitability of hospitals.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Further study is needed to assess the long-term implications of the Medicaid expansion on hospitals’ overall finances. For example, the Affordable Care Act is expected to substantially reduce Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital payments in fiscal year 2018; these payments provide additional funding to help cover uncompensated care in qualifying hospitals that serve a large number of Medicaid and uninsured patients. The proposed reductions were developed to help offset some of the federal costs associated with Medicaid expansion, with the expectation that costs would be replaced with Medicaid revenues from newly eligible beneficiaries. However, states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid will experience cuts in this funding source without the offsetting benefit of an influx of new Medicaid patients. This could widen the financial gap between hospitals in states with Medicaid expansion and those in states without expansion. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: For states still considering Medicaid expansion, these findings offer evidence that expansion may be associated with improvements in hospitals’ payer mix and overall financial outlook. However, changes in financial outcomes for hospitals in any given state will likely depend on a host of factors, such as the state’s pre-ACA income and coverage distribution, Medicaid eligibility thresholds, Medicaid reimbursement levels, and subsidies paid to hospitals providing uncompensated care. States should take these factors into account when making their Medicaid expansion decision.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Association Between the 2014 Medicaid Expansion and US Hospital Finances
JAMA. 2016;316(14):1475-1483. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.14765
Fredric Blavin, PhD

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

More Medical Research Interviews on MedicalResearch.com

 

Some Medicaid Programs Offer Peer-Review For Pediatric Atypical Antipsychotic Medications

Dr. Julie Magno Zito, PhD University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD 21201MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Julie Magno Zito, PhD

University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD 21201

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Zito: Atypical antipsychotic (AAP) use in children and adolescents has grown substantially in the past decade, largely for behavioral (non-psychotic) conditions. Poor and foster care children with Medicaid-insurance are particularly affected. This ‘off-label’ usage has insufficient evidence of benefits regarding improved functioning (i.e. appropriate behavior and performance, socially and academically) while the little evidence that accrues tends to emphasize ‘symptoms’, i.e. less acting out. Recent evidence shows that youth treated with atypical antipsychotics are at risk of serious cardiometabolic adverse events including diabetes emerging after atypical antipsychotics are ‘on board’.

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Study Finds Medicaid Improves Depression But Not Physical Health

Peter Muennig, MD, MPH Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health NYC 10032MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Peter Muennig, MD, MPH
Columbia University
Mailman School of Public Health
NYC 10032

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Muennig: The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment (OHIE) is one of just two experimental investigations of the health benefits of medical insurance. The first was the Rand Health Insurance Experiment, which was conducted over 3 decades ago. The OHIE randomly assigned participants to receive Medicaid or their usual care. It found that Medicaid protected families from financial ruin caused by medical illness, that it reduced depression, and that it increased preventive screening tests. However, it produced no medical benefits with respect to high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol. Medicaid opponents suggested that this meant that we should get rid of Medicaid because Medicaid does not improve physical health. But Medicaid proponents suggested that too few participants enrolled to detect a benefit, and, regardless of the study’s flaws, reduced depression, financial protections, and improved screening were reason enough to continue.

We found that the Medicaid opponents were right. Medicaid actually didn’t produce any meaningful benefits with respect to blood pressure, diabetes, or cholesterol. But we also found that the Medicaid proponents were right. It’s impacts on depression alone rendered it cost-effective even if one does not account for the benefits of financial protections or medical screening.
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Medical Students Have Mixed Knowledge and Expectations of ACA

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Tyler Winkelman, M.D.
Internal Medicine and Pediatrics – PGY 4
University of Minnesota

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Winkelman: Future physicians will practice after key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have been enacted.  Whether medical students support or understand the legislation or are willing to engage in its implementation or modification as part of their professional obligation is unknown.  We surveyed medical students at 8 U.S. medical schools to assess their views and knowledge of the ACA (RR=52%).  We found that the majority of students support the ACA and indicate a professional obligation to assist with its implementation. There are, however, gaps in knowledge with regards to Medicaid expansion and insurance plans available within the health exchanges.  Students anticipating a surgical or procedural specialty, compared to those anticipating a medical specialty, were less likely to support the ACA, less likely to indicate a professional obligation to implement the ACA, and more likely to have negative expectation of the ACA.  Moderates, liberals, and those with above average knowledge scores were more likely to support the ACA and indicate a professional obligation to assist with its implementation.
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Program Aims To Ensure Atypical Antipsychotics Used Appropriately in Children

Julie M. Zito, PhD Professor of Pharmacy and Psychiatry Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research University of Maryland School of Pharmacy Baltimore, MD 21201MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Julie M. Zito, PhD
Professor of Pharmacy and Psychiatry
Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research
University of Maryland School of Pharmacy
Baltimore, MD 21201

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Zito: Atypical antipsychotic (AAP) use in children and adolescents has grown substantially in the past decade, largely for behavioral (non-psychotic) conditions. Poor and foster care children with Medicaid-insurance are particularly affected. This ‘off-label’ usage has insufficient evidence of benefits regarding improved functioning (i.e. appropriate behavior and performance, socially and academically) while the little evidence that accrues tends to emphasize ‘symptoms’, i.e. less acting out. Recent evidence shows that youth treated with Atypical antipsychotics are at risk of serious cardiometabolic adverse events including diabetes emerging after atypical antipsychotics are ‘on board’.

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings?

Dr. Zito: The continued expansion in Atypical antipsychotics use for behavioral conditions, particularly in poor and foster care youth prompted several government reports asking states to implement oversight programs. In our survey of state Medicaid agencies, we identified programs implementing a new and promising approach to increase the likelihood that these medications are used appropriately. These ‘peer review’ programs have been launched in 15 of the 31 prior authorization state Medicaid programs. There is a distinct advantage in having a qualified peer review, on a case-by-case basis, of the rationale for use of an atypical antipsychotic in a condition or age group that is ‘off-label’ according to the FDA product information label.

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Pharmacy Shopping and Overlapping Prescriptions Linked To Opioid Overdose

Dr. Zhou Yang Office of the Associate Director for Policy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GAMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Zhou Yang
Office of the Associate Director for Policy
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Response: Prescription drug misuse and abuse, largely those involving opioid painkillers, have been characterized as an epidemic. According to a CDC report, drug-related overdose has surpassed traffic crashes to become the leading cause of injury death in the U.S. in 2009. Medicaid programs in most states implement Patient Review and Restriction (PRR) programs, also called ‘lock-in’ program. The PRR programs use a set of behavioral indicators to identify patients at higher risk of opioid drug misuse and abuse, and ‘locks’ them in to a designated provider, pharmacy, or both. Pharmacy shopping is one of the key indicators employed by the PRR program. However, definition of pharmacy shopper varies widely across states. In addition, the PRR programs have not paid attention to the indicators of prescribing overlapped drugs, which we see as a missed opportunity to help the PRR program to better target users at high risk of overdose.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Response: Among a number of currently used definitions of pharmacy shopping, we found that the definition of ‘four or more pharmacies visited within any 90-day period’ is the most effective one. We also found that having overlapping opioid prescriptions is associated with an elevated risk of overdose. In fact, patients who exhibited both pharmacy shopping and having overlapping prescription had more than twice the risk of overdose than those who only exhibited pharmacy shopping.

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