December 1st is World AIDS Day

WAD2017-fb-cover-852x316World AIDS Day was designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as December 1st , and this has been in place every year since 1988. The day is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection, and honoring those who have lost their lives to this disease. Government and health officials throughout the world observe this day and take it as an opportunity to educate others on AIDS prevention and control. Each year we honor a different theme—the 2017 theme is “Increasing Impact through Transparency, Accountability, and Partnerships.”

red-913305_960_720Tria Health would like to take this opportunity to educate you on a few HIV and AIDS related items.

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS, if not treated. While no effective cure currently exists, with proper medical care, HIV can be managed and controlled. AIDS is the final, and most serious stage of the HIV virus. HIV attacks the body’s immune system. Untreated, HIV makes a person more likely to get other infections or infection-related cancers.

The challenge—not all patients are adherent to their treatment or medication regimen.

The medicine used to treat HIV is called antiretroviral therapy, or ART. If taken the right way, every day, this medicine can dramatically prolong the lives of many people infected with HIV, keep them healthy, and greatly lower their chance of infecting others. Before the introduction of ART in the mid-1990s, people with HIV could progress to AIDS in just a few years. Today, someone diagnosed with HIV and treated before the disease is far advanced can live nearly as long as someone who does not have HIV.

According to a study done by University of California, adherence to ART across a group of patients was only 70%. “Only 6% of patients took their medications at the optimal level for durable virologic and clinical success”. Improving adherence improves health outcomes.

Here at Tria Health, that is precisely what our pharmacists do for ALL patients. We help patients understand all their medications, and the importance of adherence—and we make recommendations to improve their adherence to treatment so we can improve their clinical outcomes. This is not possible without physically talking with the patients and understanding their barriers. It is for this reason that Tria Health appreciates this year’s theme, “Increasing Impact through Transparency, Accountability, and Partnerships.” Tria Health is honored to partner with our clients to assist them in helping their employees feel better by holding them accountable to their clinical health outcomes.

As we approach World AIDS Day on December 1st, please take an opportunity to learn more by visiting https://www.hiv.gov/.

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November 9th is National Diabetes Heart Connection Day

heartAccording to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes affects 30 million Americans, including 8.1 million people who are undiagnosed.  Another 86 million more—one in three adults—have prediabetes and 15-30 percent will develop diabetes within five years without change.

The Scary Statistics

  •  People with type 2 diabetes have more than two times the risk for developing heart disease
  • People with diabetes live 7-8 years less
  • Two out of three deaths in people with type 2 diabetes are attributed to cardiovascular disease
  • Less than half of people with diabetes are aware of their risk of cardiovascular disease. This lack of awareness prevents people with diabetes and their health care providers from addressing risks and improving health.

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease states that “the increased co-occurrence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease demands greater awareness to save lives and health care dollars.”

At Tria Health, that’s precisely what we do—we manage the whole patient, and discuss all their conditions, prescription medications, over-the-counter medications and their lifestyle. Our pharmacists educate their patients about their medications and make recommendations to the patients and their prescribing physicians to improve clinical outcomes.

A Tria Health Patient Success Story

 During an initial pharmacist consultation, it was documented that the patient’s HgbA1c was too high – indicating poorly controlled Diabetes. In addition, the patient had significant financial difficulties affording certain medications increasing medication non-adherence. The patient was initially prescribed Metformin, but stopped taking the medication due to stomach problems without replacing it with any other diabetes medication. The pharmacist recommended a prescription of Glimepiride since it is inexpensive, very effective, and generally well tolerated. The patient’s physician agreed with the recommendation and the patient has achieved a HgbA1c of 8% in one year

In addition, the Tria pharmacist recommended switching from brand-named Benicar-HCT, a blood pressure medication, to a similarly available generic blood pressure medication called Losartan-HCTZ. The generic version saved the member $40 every 30 days and the patient’s blood pressure remains well controlled on Losartan-HCTZ.

The patient initially had success and then set-backs with smoking cessation. The Tria pharmacist worked with them to achieve sustained smoking cessation and improved health by identifying appropriate therapies and by providing ongoing education and coaching.

This success story illustrates that by managing the whole patient, and all their conditions, can and will improve clinical and financial outcomes.

 

Celebrate October with Tria Health!

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October is an important month in healthcare! October is American Pharmacists Month AND October 21st is National Check Your Meds Day!

What is National Check Your Meds Day?

Consumer Reports found that 53% of patients get their drugs from more than one healthcare provider. Perhaps more worryingly, only 50% of patents have ever asked their doctor to review their list of medications and 35% had never had ANY healthcare professional examine their lists.” For this reason, Consumer Reports is sponsoring National Check Your Meds Day.

Lisa Gill, Deputy Director for Consumer Reports, says “Pharmacists are a terrific resource” for helping to identify problem medications. She also said, “My hope is that people take their meds to a pharmacist they trust.”

Tria Health’s specially trained pharmacists provide necessary education and coordination of care to improve condition management. Pharmacists are the best healthcare providers to identify potential drug interactions, medication side effects, and dosing issues. Tria Health’s pharmacists can communicate this knowledge to patients, physicians, and other healthcare providers.

Tria Health offers this service regularly, as part of our Pharmacy Advocate and Specialty GuardRx programs.

Comprehensive Medication Review (a/k/a Brown Bag Review)

A brown bag review is your opportunity to speak with a clinical pharmacist to review all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements.

During this review, pharmacists will help you better understand your medications, and ensure that you are taking the right combination of medications for your individual health needs.

Ready for your Employees to Schedule a Brown Bag Review?

Skip the lines at your pharmacy and call Tria Health today at 913-322-8456!

Stay Healthy This Flu Season!

Flu-shot---SmallThe 2017-2018 flu season is upon us.  It is important to begin getting your vaccination now.  The flu shot takes about 2 weeks to work.  Your immunity will last through the spring.

Here are five of the biggest flu season questions answered.

I’m healthy, Do I really need the flu vaccine?

Yes.  Influenza is a contagious disease which affects the lungs and can lead to a more serious illness.  The flu vaccine is recommended for anyone 6 months of age or older.  Some individuals are at more risk of complications of the flu vaccine and should consider vaccination including pregnant women, older people, and individuals with chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

When is the right time to get the vaccine, can I get it too early? 

Now is the right time to get the flu vaccine.  Flu activity can begin as early as October and last well into March.  If the influenza virus is circulating, you should still get the flu vaccine.  Flu season can often last into the spring, and sooner you get vaccinated, the more effective it will be.

But can I get the flu from the vaccine?

No, you can’t. Flu vaccines  are developed using dead or weakened viruses that allow your body to develop the antibodies needed to fight the infection, but that won’t actually cause the disease. Flu-like symptoms can be related to other viral illnesses and you can potentially contract the flu virus while you are waiting for your immunity to build up from the vaccine.  You cannot catch the flu from the vaccine.

What are the symptoms of the flu?

The flu is a respiratory illness, and it’s usually spread through the air by people coughing and sneezing. The most common symptoms include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, body aches and fatigue.  The flu is generally much more severe than the common cold, but the symptoms can be similar. The flu tends to develop very quickly and can cause much more severe complications like pneumonia or bacterial infections. A test can be done in the first few days of infection that can determine if you have the flu or a cold.

How do I prevent spread of the flu?

The most effective thing you can do to protect yourself from the flu is to get a vaccine if you haven’t already. Other important ways to help prevent the flu include: wash your hands regularly and cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.  If you do develop symptoms, stay home from work or school to avoid spreading the flu to those around you.

Tria Health Partners with the Mid-American Coalition on Health Care

Tria Health has MACHC Logopartnered with The Mid-America Coalition on Health Care (MACHC) to offer chronic condition and specialty management solutions proven to control rising health care costs and improve health outcomes for employees, which aligns with the mission of the MACHC coalition.

“20% of members drive 80% of health care costs. These members typically have chronic conditions that require medication for effective management. However, research has shown that 50% of people don’t take their medication as prescribed which elevates total health care costs. Our proven solution controls costs and improves health for an employer’s member base, like those in the coalition, so we are excited about this partnership,” said Jessica Lea, CEO, Tria Health.

“Partnering with Tria Health aligns with our commitment to identify and deliver solutions that control health care costs and improve health outcomes of our members,” said Troy Ross, president of MACHC.

With specially trained pharmacists, Tria engages with high-risk, high cost members to discuss medications and lifestyle unique to each individual. They provide necessary education and coordination of care to improve condition management, resulting in lower costs and improved health outcomes for an employer’s members.

For more information, visit triahealth.com or follow them on LinkedIn.

About Mid-America Coalition on Health Care

TheMid-America Coalition on Health Care is one of the oldest and largest health care business coalitions in the country, representing over 500,000 covered lives. MACHC is an employer-driven, non-profit collaboration of all health care stakeholders in the bi-state Kansas City region, seeking to improve the health and wellness of employees, their families and their community, and to develop strategies to reduce health care costs. Members include major employers, health plans, physicians, hospitals, brokers and consultants, academic institutions, public health, government, and pharmaceutical companies. www.MACHC.org.