DTCC: In the News


May 29, 2009

Haydon-Greatting and Midwest Business Group on Health: Standing on Chicago’s “big shoulders”
Legislators can look to Obama's home state for great example of MTM.

The Diabetes Ten City Challenge (DTCC) article published in the May/June issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association included data from 8 of the 10 areas involved in the effort. Beginning the Asheville-like interventions later, four Chicago-area employers have now analyzed their data on 86 workers, and the results are even more impressive than those reported earlier about this APhA Foundation project.

Starlin Haydon-Greatting, a Springfield, IL, pharmacist who helped the Illinois Pharmacists Association (IPhA) recruit and train pharmacists for the medication therapy management (MTM) project, told pharmacist.com how gratifying it is to see community-based MTM efforts finally succeeding. Haydon-Greatting, who worked with the Illinois Medicaid program for 17 years, noted, "All the things we have done since 1990 is allowing this to happen. Back then, we didn't have the data, and people didn't grasp why pharmacists needed an identifier number. But now we have employers asking for the services and a large group of patients who can tell others what pharmacists have done for them."

What they can do is impressive, the data show. The Midwest Business Group on Health reported on the DTCC effort, which is called the Taking Control of Your Health (TCYH) program in Chicago, earlier this month. Employers' return on investment per participant was $1,467 or $126,162 for all 86 participants, compared with the projected costs for patients with diabetes not in the program. Average total health care costs for participants declined by almost $625.

The TCYH program, which now has more than 200 participating patients, is open to covered employees, dependents, and retirees from employer members of the Midwest Business Group on Health. Haydon-Greatting first became involved in certificate training of pharmacist-coaches as a volunteer with IPhA. She is now a consultant handling that program and helping to expand into cardiovascular diseases. She also works with an IPhA advisory board with faculty representatives from five area schools of pharmacy.

In addition to the Chicago sites, Haydon-Greatting noted that other Illinois locations, especially Quincy, is handling even more patients than the Chicago program. After years of working in the government though, she wonders, "What is the likelihood that the federal government will see what pharmacists are doing in the current debate over health care reform?"

Maybe the Obama administration will be different, she hopes, adding that government always links to things that have happened before. Haydon-Greatting will be there, telling her Members of Congress about the DTCC effort, MTM, and pharmacists' capabilities.

Will you? Pharmacists could do well to replicate for the profession the actions described about Chicagoans by Carl Sandburg in his poetic tribute to the "city of big shoulders": "Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning."