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Health Care System-level Factors Associated With Performance on Medicare STAR Adherence Metrics in a Large, Integrated Delivery System

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services provide significant incentives to health plans that score well on Medicare STAR metrics for cardiovascular disease risk factor medication adherence. Information on modifiable health system-level predictors of adherence can help clinicians and health plans develop strategies for improving Medicare STAR scores, and potentially improve cardiovascular disease outcomes. To examine the association of Medicare STAR adherence metrics with system-level factors. A cross-sectional study. A total of 129,040 diabetes patients aged 65 years and above in 2010 from 3 Kaiser Permanente regions. Adherence to antihypertensive, antihyperlipidemic, and oral antihyperglycemic medications in 2010, defined by Medicare STAR as the proportion of days covered ? 80%. After controlling for individual-level factors, the strongest predictor of achieving STAR-defined medication adherence was a mean prescribed medication days’ supply of > 90 days (RR=1.61 for antihypertensives, oral antihyperglycemics, and statins; all P < 0.001). Using mail order pharmacy to fill medications > 50% of the time was independently associated with better adherence with these medications (RR = 1.07, 1.06, 1.07; P < 0.001); mail order use had an increased positive association among black and Hispanic patients. Medication copayments ? $10 for 30 days' supply (RR = 1.02, 1.02, 1.02; P < 0.01) and annual individual out-of-pocket maximums ? $2000 (RR = 1.02, 1.01, 1.02; P < 0.01) were also significantly associated with higher adherence for all 3 therapeutic groupings. Greater medication days' supply and mail order pharmacy use, and lower copayments and out-of-pocket maximums, are associated with better Medicare STAR adherence. Initiatives to improve adherence should focus on modifiable health system-level barriers to obtaining evidence-based medications.

Authors: Schmittdiel JA; Nichols GA; Dyer W; Steiner JF; Karter AJ; Raebel MA

Med Care. 2015 Apr;53(4):332-7.

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