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NEW: Senators Put Medication Adherence Front and Center at Q + A

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse joined a panel discussion and Q&A on medication adherence, urging the public to take the issue seriously as a threat to public health.

The Senators and other esteemed panelists explored the critical nature of medication adherence, both from the standpoint of public health as well as for individual patients. The event brought together leading thinkers and state officials as well as patient advocates, providers and pharmacy experts. 

Participants engaged in robust discussion with the audience and advocated for increased education efforts to raise awareness among patients. Currently, about half of all patients with chronic diseases fail to take their medications on time and as directed. The estimated resulting cost of non-adherence to the U.S. economy is a whopping $100-300 billion annually.

Reed: Issue is "Critically Important"

“It sounds simple, but helping people take their medications as prescribed is critically important. It improves health outcomes and prevents unnecessary and costly hospitalizations. I have teamed up with the University of Rhode Island’s College of Pharmacy, CVS/Caremark, and RI Script Your Future to host Medication Management and Health Fairs across Rhode Island to try to help seniors stay healthy. I want to ensure that people of all ages have access to quality, affordable health care and that they can afford their prescriptions and use them as directed,” said Senator Reed.

Eric Cote, spokesperson for the forum, was pleased with what he characterized as a robust turnout that witnessed an engaging give-and-take between the presenters and the audience. "The senators had many great comments and provided a lot of information about efforts that they are making on medication adherence at the federal level," said Cote. "It contributed to a good exchange between the presenters and the audience." 

Senator Whitehouse addressed the role technology can play in leading to increased medication adherence. “Making sure patients take the right medication in the right way can improve health outcomes and lower costs in our health care system. Electronic prescribing, the health information exchange, and other advances in technology make it easier for patients and providers to reap these benefits,” said Senator Whitehouse. “Rhode Island has long been a leader in this field, particularly through the work of the Rhode Island Quality Institute, and I am confident we will continue that leadership for years to come.”

“Throughout the country, thousands suffer serious and even sometimes fatal complications as a result of poor medication adherence each year,” said Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League, which coordinates the public education campaign Script Your Future nationally and in six target markets, including Rhode Island, across the country. “Through our Script Your Future program, we are working hard to prevent these unnecessary and tragic deaths by increasing awareness and educating patients. We are honored to work alongside these champions of consumer health, Senators Reed and Whitehouse, here in Rhode Island to ensure that patients with chronic diseases can lead long and healthy lives.”

In addition to Senator Reed and Senator Whitehouse, panelists were on hand from a bevy of different national and local organization focused on improving health care. Included amongst them were Professor Jef Bratberg, PharmD, University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy; Stephen Evangelista, CEO, Arthritis Foundation of New England and Chairman, RI Health Advocacy Forum; Sally Greenberg, Executive Director, National Consumers League and coordinator of the Script Your Future campaign; Dr. Elaine Jones, President, RI Medical Society; Peter Simmons, RPh, Vice President; Product Development, CVS Caremark; and Joel White, Executive Director, Council for Affordable Health Coverage.

To learn more about Prescriptions for a Healthy America: A Partnership for Advancing Medication Adherence, visit their website at adhereforhealth.org. More on Script Your Future can be found at www.scriptyourfuture.org


Related Slideshow: New England’s Healthiest States 2013

The United Health Foundation recently released its 2013 annual reoprt: America's Health Rankings, which provides a comparative state by state analysis of several health measures to provide a comprehensive perspective of our nation's health issues. See how the New England states rank in the slides below.



All Outcomes Rank: Outcomes represent what has already occurred, either through death, disease or missed days due to illness. In America's Health Rankings, outcomes include prevalence of diabetes, number of poor mental or physical health days in last 30 days, health disparity, infant mortality rate, cardiovascular death rate, cancer death rate and premature death. Outcomes account for 25% of the final ranking.

Determinants Rank: Determinants represent those actions that can affect the future health of the population. For clarity, determinants are divided into four groups: Behaviors, Community and Environment, Public and Health Policies, and Clinical Care. These four groups of measures influence the health outcomes of the population in a state, and improving these inputs will improve outcomes over time. Most measures are actually a combination of activities in all four groups. 

Diabetes Rank: Based on percent of adults who responded yes to the question "Have you ever been told by a doctor that you have diabetes?" Does not include pre-diabetes or diabetes during pregnancy.

Smoking Rank: Based on percentage of adults who are current smokers (self-report smoking at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and currently smoke).

Obesity Rank: Based on percentage of adults who are obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher.

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/

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6. Rhode Island

Overall Rank: 19

Outcomes Rank: 30

Determinants Rank: 13

Diabetes Rank: 26

Smoking Rank: 14

Obesity Rank: 13



1. Low prevalence of obesity

2. High immunization coverage among adolescents

3. Ready availability of primary care physicians  


1.High rate of drug deaths

2. High rate of preventable hospitalizations

3. Large disparity in heath status by educational attainment

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/RI

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5. Maine

Overall Rank: 16

Outcomes Rank: 25

Determinants Rank: 12

Diabetes Rank: 23

Smoking Rank: 29

Obesity Rank: 28



1. Low violent crime rate

2. Low percentage of uninsured population

3. Low prevalence of low birthweight  


1. High prevalence of binge drinking

2.High rate of cancer deaths

3. Limited availability of dentists

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/ME

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4. Connecticut

Overall Rank: 7

Outcomes Rank: 15

Determinants Rank: 4

Diabetes Rank: 16

Smoking Rank: 4

Obesity Rank: 12



1. Low prevalence of smoking

2. Low incidence of infectious diseases

3. High immunization coverage among children & adolescents  


1. Moderate prevalence of binge drinking

2. Low high school graduation rate

3. Large disparity in health status by educational attainment

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/CT

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3. New Hampshire

Overall Rank: 5

Outcomes Rank: 7

Determinants Rank: 5

Diabetes Rank: 16

Smoking Rank: 11

Obesity Rank: 22



1. Low percentage of children in poverty

2. High immunization coverage among children

3. Low infant mortality rate  


1. High prevalence of binge drinking

2.High incidence of pertussis infections

3. Low per capita public health funding

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/NH

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2. Massachusetts

Overall Rank: 4

Outcomes Rank: 14

Determinants Rank: 3

Diabetes Rank: 10

Smoking Rank: 7

Obesity Rank: 2



1. Low prevalence of obesity

2. Low percentage of uninsured population

3. Ready availability of primary care physicians & dentists  


1. High prevalence of binge drinking

2. High rate of preventable hospitalizations

3. Large disparity in health status by educational attainment

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/MA

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1. Vermont

Overall Rank: 2

Outcomes Rank: 12

Determinants Rank: 1

Diabetes Rank: 4

Smoking Rank: 9

Obesity Rank: 5



1. High rate of high school graduation

2. Low violent crime rate

3. Low percentage of uninsured population  


1. High prevalence of binge drinking

2. Low immunization coverage among children

3. High incidence of pertussis infections

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/VT


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