Evaluation of Eligibility Criteria Used to Identify Patients for Medication Therapy Management Services: A Retrospective Cohort Study in a Medicare Advantage Part D Population

Janet S Lee, Jianing Yang, Karen M Stockl, Heidi Lew, Brian K Solow
Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy 2016, 22 (1): 22-30

BACKGROUND: General eligibility criteria used by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to identify patients for medication therapy management (MTM) services include having multiple chronic conditions, taking multiple Part D drugs, and being likely to incur annual drug costs that exceed a predetermined threshold. The performance of these criteria in identifying patients in greatest need of MTM services is unknown. Although there are numerous possible versions of MTM identification algorithms that satisfy these criteria, there are limited data that evaluate the performance of MTM services using eligibility thresholds representative of those used by the majority of Part D sponsors.

OBJECTIVES: To (a) evaluate the performance of the 2013 CMS MTM eligibility criteria thresholds in identifying Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) plan patients with at least 2 drug therapy problems (DTPs) relative to alternative criteria threshold levels and (b) identify additional patient risk factors significantly associated with the number of DTPs for consideration as potential future MTM eligibility criteria.

METHODS: All patients in the Medicare Advantage Part D population who had pharmacy eligibility as of December 31, 2013, were included in this retrospective cohort study. Study outcomes included 7 different types of DTPs: use of high-risk medications in the elderly, gaps in medication therapy, medication nonadherence, drug-drug interactions, duplicate therapy, drug-disease interactions, and brand-to-generic conversion opportunities. DTPs were identified for each member based on 6 months of most recent pharmacy claims data and 14 months of most recent medical claims data. Risk factors examined in this study included patient demographics and prior health care utilization in the most recent 6 months. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize patient characteristics and to evaluate unadjusted relationships between the average number of DTPs identified per patient and each risk factor. Quartile values identified in the study population for number of diseases, number of drugs, and annual spend were used as potential new criteria thresholds, resulting in 27 new MTM criteria combinations. The performance of each eligibility criterion was evaluated using sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive values (PPVs), and negative predictive values (NPVs). Patients identified with at least 2 DTPs were defined as those who would benefit from MTM services and were used as the gold standard. As part of a sensitivity analysis, patients identified with at least 1 DTP were used as the gold standard. Lastly, a multivariable negative binomial regression model was used to evaluate the relationship between each risk factor and the number of identified DTPs per patient while controlling for the patients' number of drugs, number of chronic diseases, and annual drug spend.

RESULTS: A total of 2,578,336 patients were included in the study. The sensitivity, specificity, PPV, and NPV of CMS MTM criteria for the 2013 plan year were 15.3%, 95.6%, 51.3%, and 78.8%, respectively. Sensitivity and PPV improved when the drug count threshold increased from 8 to 10, and when the annual drug cost decreased from $3,144 to $2,239 or less. Results were consistent when at least 1 DTP was used as the gold standard. The adjusted rate of DTPs was significantly greater among patients identified with higher drug and disease counts, annual drug spend, and prior ER or outpatient or hospital visits. Patients with higher median household incomes who were male, younger, or white had significantly lower rates of DTPs.

CONCLUSIONS: The performance of MTM eligibility criteria can be improved by increasing the threshold values for drug count while decreasing the threshold value for annual drug spend. Furthermore, additional risk factors, such as a recent ER or hospital visit, may be considered as potential MTM eligibility criteria.

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