OIG OK's pilot program to share patient prescription drug data with pharmacists

The HHS' Office of Inspector General approved a pilot program that will enable some pharmacists to access discharge information to coordinate care plans that reduce readmissions via a partnership with pharmaceutical companies, according to an advisory opinion issued Monday.

The program would allow a drugmaker to team up with a trade organization, a Medicare Advantage plan and a hospital system so pharmacists employed by the plan could receive real-time electronic access to certain discharge information for that plan's beneficiaries.

The pharmacists involved provide medication therapy management and possible courses of treatment, including drug and non-drug therapies, such as lifestyle changes that address the disease.

The program will focus on patients admitted to hospitals for one of five diagnoses tracked under the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program — pneumonia, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and elective total hip or knee arthroplasty.

OIG approved the pilot, although warned there is a small chance it may violate kickback laws.

Click here to read the full advisory opinion.

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