Pharmacy Receives Funding, State Contract

Contact: Mary Margaret Colliver

Photo of U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, College of Pharmacy Dean Kenneth B. Robers, and UK President Lee T. Todd Jr.
(l-r) U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, College of Pharmacy Dean Kenneth B. Roberts, and UK President Lee T. Todd Jr.

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“This partnership with the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy will allow us as part of our Medicaid Modernization plan to identify those members of the Medicaid plan whose health care can be improved by beginning personal education of both the physician and the patients themselves. This opportunity is unique and we anticipate positive outcomes in the very near future."

-- Dr. James W. Holsinger Jr.,
Secretary,
Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 12, 2004) -- U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell secured a total of $2 million in federal funds to enable the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy to develop a Drug and Therapeutics Information Service (DATIS), which supports Fayette County physicians in improving drug-related disease management. Initial funding was secured in August 2002 by McConnell through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fund this unique project. Today, McConnell presented a check for another $1 million to the UK College of Pharmacy. This second installment will enable expansion of the service to Eastern Kentucky.

DATIS is a clinical support service offering free, unbiased information on therapeutics, medications, and other related issues of interest to primary care physicians. DATIS is an initiative of the UK College of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science.

“The UK College of Pharmacy is a tremendous resource for Kentucky, and I am proud to secure federal funds that allow its faculty to work with local doctors in designing the best course of treatments for their patients,” McConnell said. 

“We initiated this program as a way to continue the College’s commitment to improving the health and well-being of the citizens of the Commonwealth,” said Kenneth B. Roberts, Ph.D., dean of the College of Pharmacy. “Working directly in a partnership with physicians is a vital first step in reducing medication-related problems and improving health in Kentucky.”

Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Dr. James W. Holsinger Jr. also announced today that the Cabinet will award a contract in the amount of $3.9 million to expand DATIS into other areas of Kentucky, implement pharmacotherapy (disease management) services in Fayette County and outlying areas, and to utilize Artemetrx--a Web-based, data analysis tool. These joint resources in rural areas of the state will provide physicians with the most up-to-date information on the best management of diseases prevalent in Kentucky such as asthma and diabetes. Patients, in turn, will be referred to pharmacy specialists in these diseases who will work directly with the patients to maximize their at-home care. Based upon the experiences with this approach in other areas, the Commonwealth expects to realize a savings in the amount of $8 million in the first year, which will more than offset this additional contract cost. All pharmacists associated with this state project are on the faculty of the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, one of the most highly ranked colleges of pharmacy in the nation.

“This partnership with the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy will allow us as part of our Medicaid Modernization plan to identify those members of the Medicaid plan whose health care can be improved by beginning personal education of both the physician and the patients themselves,” said Holsinger. “This opportunity is unique and we anticipate positive outcomes in the very near future."

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Department for Medicaid Services, is partnering with the university as part of its Medicaid Modernization roll out. This project will help the Medicaid program identify patients who use large quantities of prescription medication, emergency room services, physician office visits, and other services with the data management and analysis services provided through use of Artemetrx. DATIS and pharmacotherapy components of the project will help the Medicaid program educate patients and their doctors about safer, less expensive treatments that will better serve recipients and improve the quality of care. As an example, the number of prescriptions for Kentucky's Medicaid program is twice the national average and prescription medicine is one of the fastest growing parts of the $4 billion annual Medicaid budget. The Fletcher Administration announced in January its Medicaid Modernization program. A key component will be to bring the pharmacy costs under control.

“I thank Senator McConnell for securing this funding,” said UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. “This service has been successful in promoting positive health outcomes and that success can be attributed to Senator McConnell’s dedication to bringing federal dollars to Kentucky to bolster health care initiatives. I also want to thank Secretary Holsinger for initiating the contract to expand these services. This important project will enable our College of Pharmacy’s medication-use educators to work with more Kentucky physicians and patients, which will ultimately benefit patients. This is a good example of how the university can work with federal and state governments in a partnership to improve health outcomes for Kentuckians.”

Currently DATIS is staffed by three UK clinical pharmacists who are knowledgeable about the needs and demands of community medical practice. They deliver DATIS services through personal visits to the physician’s office. The first visits to physicians were made in March 2003.

“DATIS provides a uniquely useful service for primary care practitioners. DATIS visitors deliver expert, independent summaries of the research literature in a format which is truly relevant to my practice,” said Dr. John V. Borders, a senior internal medicine physician in Lexington.

Second phase plans call for the program to expand into Eastern Kentucky and provide clinical support services for physicians, including topics such as management of nonmalignant chronic pain and Type 2 diabetes .

“We plan to see continued improvement in patient health outcomes and medical care practices through utilization of our DATIS services,” said Don Perrier, Ph.D., chair of the UK Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science.

“The $1 million in continuation funding as well as the state funding from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services will enable us to take DATIS and patient focused pharmacotherapy services into Eastern Kentucky and other areas of Kentucky,” said Perrier.


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