Move to Provide Physicians in 13 States and Washington, D.C. with Electronic Access to Medication
History, Formulary and Eligibility Information, Allowing State Medicaid Programs to Increase
Prescribing Safety and Convenience for 11 Million Medicaid Patients
Alexandria, Va. - October 19, 2007 - First Health Services Corporation, a leading provider of pharmaceutical services in the public sector, today announced an agreement with SureScripts that will allow Medicaid programs in 13 states and Washington, D.C. to electronically share information with physicians regarding their individual patient's medication history and drug coverage.
First Health Services has begun testing and certification of its Pharmaceutical Services point-of-sale system to share data with physicians over the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange™, operated by SureScripts. Once complete, First Health Services will become a SureScripts Certified Solution Provider™. This will enable state Medicaid programs using First Health Services' point-of-sale processing system to offer physicians who are providing care to a Medicaid patient secure, electronic access to that patient's medication history, as well as to formulary and eligibility information in real time, during an office visit. Physicians are able to access this information through e-prescribing and electronic medical record software that has been certified by SureScripts. First Health Services manages pharmaceutical services for Medicaid programs in Alaska, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C. In 2008 First Health Services will also begin to support the Pharmaceutical Services for the Florida Medicaid program.
"The collaboration with SureScripts provides secured access to real-time critical patient information for program recipients that is needed to enhance fiscal controls, reduce fraud and abuse, and promote quality care," said Peter Quinn, chief operating officer, First Health Services. "First Health Services' strong clinical and technical focus provides the services that Medicaid agencies, and the members and providers they serve, now require.
Putting information about a patient's drug coverage at a physician's fingertips, when they are prescribing, eliminates many of the questions that often require pharmacists and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to place multiple phone calls to a physician's office - every day, all day long. For the nearly 11 million Medicaid
patients supported by First Health Services, preventing this confusion means less wait time at the pharmacy.
Providing physicians with secure access to their patient's medication history has significant benefits as well. By providing access to a more complete, electronic record of a patient's medication history, physicians are able to make a more thorough check for potentially harmful drug interactions and, more generally, to make a more informed decision regarding drug treatment.
By processing more than 150 million prescriptions per year and assisting states to manage drug programs with more than $12 billion in annual drug expenditures, First Health Services is one of the largest pharmaceutical services administrators in the United States. By offering physicians electronic access to medication history as well as formulary and eligibility information, First Health Services is also encouraging physicians to prescribe electronically.
Payers and Physicians Agree: "Cleaner" Prescriptions Drive Efficiency
SureScripts' eligibility and formulary services increase the probability that a physician will receive a match to patient benefit queries. The higher the "match rate," the more "clean prescriptions" are sent to pharmacies. The more clean prescriptions sent to pharmacies, the less need for multiple phone calls between pharmacists, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and physicians trying to clarify information that can now be provided electronically, in advance, at the point of care. Patients benefit from this approach as well. Because electronic prescriptions arrive at the pharmacy more quickly and take less time to fill, patients benefit from shorter wait times and the opportunity for more counseling from their pharmacist.
A survey of 2,888 physicians revealed that "reducing phone calls and faxes" - the natural byproduct of sending more "clean prescriptions" to pharmacies - was second to prior authorizations as the most valued administrative aspect of e-prescribing.
"With today's announcement, the Pharmacy Health Information Exchange will offer physicians access to Rx History as well as formulary and eligibility information from state Medicaid programs supporting millions of patients across the nation," said Rick Ratliff, chief operating officer of SureScripts. "Today's announcement
with First Health Services is a prime example of how community pharmacy is actively forming new relationships that open doors and allow for the sharing of critical information that will cut costs, save lives and dramatically improve healthcare in the United States."
About First Health Services
First Health Services is a unique national Medicaid fee-for-service and managed health care company the offers comprehensive services to payers across the country - including 27 states, and the District of Columbia. Serving the state public sector program market, First Health Services' core competency is managing total health care costs while educating and empowering consumers. More information is available at www.fhsc.com