FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 10, 2004) – The Kentucky Medicaid program began using a new pharmacy claims system this week that will provide better quality and safety for Medicaid members.
The new system is part of the Medicaid Modernization effort initiated by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
In less than a week, First Health Services, the state’s contractor, processed more than 600,000 transactions. During the same period, more than 100 alerts were issued for cases where severe drug reactions were likely to occur with the prescription. The appropriate checks were made to review the prescribed medications to make sure Medicaid members were safe.
Under the new system, a Kentucky pharmacist enters a Medicaid member’s prescription information into a drugstore computer. First Health Services automatically provides important information to the pharmacist regarding safety and quality issues concerning that patient.
“This system alerts a pharmacist to dangerous drug interactions, therapy duplications and potentially dangerous dosage levels,” said Deputy Undersecretary for Health Rebecca Cecil. “With this quality initiative, we can help prevent sickness and hospitalizations due to medication errors – and may even save lives -- while enhancing the quality of patient care.”
Kentucky Medicaid members’ average use of prescription drugs is nearly twice the national average. The cabinet recently found that 33,000 Medicaid members use 20 or more prescriptions within a six month period. This could be a dangerous combination for many of these people that could lead to health problems and hospitalization.