Grand Rapids’ Priority Health Invests $3M Aimed at Reducing Medical Errors

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Grand Rapids-based Priority Health will spend nearly $3 million to expand its pharmacy management programs throughout the state in an effort to prevent medical errors.

Each year, more than 200,000 people die from preventable medical errors, according to an article in U.S. News & World Report.

“Priority Health is in a unique position to be able to align resources and the expertise within the pharmacy community to ensure our members are getting optimal care,” says Joan Budden, president and CEO of Priority Health.

Budden says the organization will invest $2 million to expand its medication therapy management program in local pharmacies, which supports local pharmacists to help patients understand their prescription drugs. Together with the patient and their physician, pharmacists evaluate prescription drug use and can identify potentially dangerous and costly medication errors.

Budden says another $1 million will go to expanding the medication therapy management program with physician practices. With this program, in-house pharmacists will assist patients while they are visiting their doctors’ office.

She says Priority Health initially launched the medication therapy management pilot program with its Medicare members. In the first year of the pilot program, medication therapy management created a total cost of care savings of $60 per member per month over a year, and $66 per member per month over two years.

Budden says on average, two drug-related issues were resolved for each patient engaged in the program.

The Michigan Pharmacists Association estimates the state spends $12 billion per year on medication-related problems that could otherwise be avoided, including administering the wrong drug, the wrong dosage, or an inaccurate combination that could lead to death.

Priority Health is offering medication therapy management programs in pharmacies across the U.S., including Meijer, Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS, and Wal-Mart. Priority Health members are also able to participate in the program through pharmacists in their primary care office. Participation in the program is optional.

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