Medicaid Programs Reduce Costs With Technology

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Prescription Drug Costs

In an effort to reduce prescription drug costs, several states are working with Epocrates to make their preferred drug lists available to physicians online or via mobile devices.

Prescription drug costs account for $201 billion, or 20 percent, of Medicaid's annual spending.

Medi-Cal and Texas Medicaid join 16 other state and federally funded health care programs currently working with Epocrates to improve physicians' access to information. California and Texas cover a combined nine million lives, with the former reporting $3 billion in annual medication- related costs.

"Many of my patients have Medicaid benefits so it will be very helpful for me to know what drugs are covered before they leave my office," said Manoj V. Waikar, MD, medical director of Gardner Family Care. "I have no doubt that the addition of MediCal's formulary to Epocrates will save time, reduce patient frustrations and provide more efficient, accurate care."

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Epocrates serves as a platform for Medicaid and other health plans to deliver reimbursement information to more than one in four U.S. physicians at the point of care. By improving the transmission of information, physicians, patients and state health plans benefit:

-- Physicians can instantly view a patient's health plan coverage during consultation, providing uninterrupted and higher-quality care.

-- Eighty percent of physicians report the greatest benefits of having access to formulary information are saving time and/or reducing pharmacy callbacks(2) (requests for new prescriptions or generic approval).

-- Ninety percent of physicians report prescribing a lower cost alternative after using the formulary reference(3), which may lead to significant savings on state drug spending.

In addition to select Medicaid formularies, Epocrates also hosts information for several commercial health plans and all Medicare Part D plans. Physicians can download the plans they frequently reference onto their mobile device or access them via the online version at no cost. Epocrates' formulary feature is routinely updated to ensure current coverage information is available to physicians.

"The 500,000 healthcare professionals in our network often request that health plans work with us to make their formularies available," said Kirk Loevner, chief executive officer and chairman of Epocrates. "We support the enthusiasm of our users and are continuously working to meet their needs by exploring relationships with additional commercial and Medicaid plans across the country."

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