Satya Surbhi, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine in the Center for Health System Improvement at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), received a $100,000 grant from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Foundation to pursue research in improving medication adherence for low-income Tennessee Medicaid users.
Surbhi's study showed that only 20 percent of Medicaid super-utilizers (patients with numerous hospital visits causing high health care costs) properly used their chronic disease medication as prescribed in a six-month period following a hospital discharge. Beneficiaries suffered from persistent ailments, such as diabetes, hypertension, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, and chronic lung diseases.
Study participants noted that transportation barriers and financial burdens were the major factors making it difficult to get medicine in a timely manner. Surbhi contends that hospitals and payers can take steps to make medicine more accessible, which would then provide better health treatments for low-income patients.