U.S. Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today continued his Older Americans Month tour of the Third District by hosting a free prescription drug screening and discussion on Medicare and Social Security at the Pascal Senior Center in Glen Burnie.
The Congressman was joined by pharmacists and pharmacy students from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy's P3 (Patients, Pharmacists, Partnerships) Program who provided free medication reviews, information about possible medication interactions and side effects, and blood pressure tests. Representatives from the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging were on hand to provide consultations on Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit component of Medicare.
"I often hear from seniors who struggle to keep track of the medications they receive from different physicians for various conditions," said Congressman Sarbanes. "Pharmacists can provide a critical service and drastically improve health outcomes if they are able to evaluate the entire prescription drug regimen, avoid adverse reactions, and make other recommendations."
Inappropriate use of medications contributes to more than 1.5 million preventable, medication-related adverse events each year and accounts for $177 billion in excess health care expenses. Medication Therapy Management (MTM) services provided by specially-trained pharmacists through the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy's P3 Program have been shown to improve health outcomes and lower health care costs by reducing the number of hospital and emergency room visits for participants, with savings ranging from $495 to $3,281 per participant. A 2009 study on the economic impact of MTM provided by the P3 Program reported a return on investment of $3.50 for every $1.00 spent.
The P3 Program, a collaboration between the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, the Maryland Pharmacists Association, the Maryland General Assembly, and the Maryland Department of Health and Human Services, offers a unique model of care that provides step-by-step guidance in medication adherence, lifestyle changes, and self-care skills for patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
"We were pleased to partner with Congressman Sarbanes on this initiative to provide free medication reviews to seniors through the School of Pharmacy's P3 Program," says Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and director of the P3 Program. "The goal of the P3 Program is to improve patient health and reduce health care costs, and this event was a wonderful opportunity to bring these services to seniors in Anne Arundel County."
"We appreciate Congressman Sarbanes' commitment to the senior citizens of Anne Arundel County. Many seniors take an average of 6 to 8 different prescription medications as well as over the counter drugs. Medication errors are common in the elderly, so it is necessary that they not only know what medications they are taking, but should be aware of drug interactions and side effects," said Pam Jordan, Director of the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging.