For Immediate Release
Woody Eisenberg, MD
SVP, Performance Measurement & Strategic Alliances
Pharmacy Quality Alliance

PQA Endorses Three New Performance Measures to Address Completion of Therapies to Treat Hepatitis C and Use of Multiple Anticholinergic or CNS-Active Medications in Older Adults
Alexandria, VA (May 22, 2017)  - The membership of the Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) has endorsed three new performance measures: (1) Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis C: Completion of Therapy; (2) Polypharmacy: Use of Multiple Anticholinergic Medications in Older Adults; and (3) Polypharmacy: Use of Multiple CNS-Active Medications in Older Adults.
The first measure, Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis C: Completion of Therapy, evaluates the percentage of adults being treated for chronic Hepatitis C who completed the minimum intended duration of therapy without any significant gaps in therapy. Hepatitis C Virus infection is the most common chronic blood borne infection in the United States, affecting an estimated 3 million Americans, and is the leading cause of liver transplantation in the US. Hepatitis C is often curable with the completion of antiviral therapy, but this comes with a high price tag - up to $84,000 for a full 12-week course of therapy, for example.
"Patients now have access to therapies that are shorter duration and more tolerable than previous options, and importantly, offer a cure. To achieve a cure, however, patients must complete their therapy as prescribed," said Woody Eisenberg, MD, Senior Vice President for PQA.
The second measure, Polypharmacy: Use of Multiple Anticholinergic Medications in Older Adults, evaluates the percentage of individuals 65 and older with concurrent use of two or more anticholinergic medications, which is associated with an increased risk for cognitive decline. The third measure, Polypharmacy: Use of Multiple CNS-Active Medications in Older Adults, evaluates the percentage of individuals 65 and older with concurrent use of three or more CNS-active medications, including antidepressants, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepine sedative-hypnotics, and opioid analgesics. Such use is associated with an increased risk for falls, and for some combinations, fractures.
"A high anticholinergic burden is consistently associated with reduced cognitive performance in older adults, said Dr. Eisenberg, adding that, "Co-prescribing of CNS-active medications in the elderly is also concerning because it's been trending upward."
PQA collaborated with various organizations to complete measure testing, including HealthPartners to test the Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis C: Completion of Therapy measure and with the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy to test the Polypharmacy measures. Testing is a key step in the measure development process, and having several testing partners allows PQA the opportunity to identify how measures perform across different health plans - an important step in our measure validation process.
About PQA
Established in 2006, PQA represents pharmacy providers, pharmacy benefit managers, health plans, academia, consumer advocates, community pharmacies, health technology vendors, life sciences organizations, and other stakeholders interested in improving the quality of the medication-use system.
PQA's mission is to:
Improve the quality of medication management and use across health care settings with the goal of improving patients' health through a collaborative process to develop and implement performance measures and recognize examples of exceptional pharmacy quality.
PQA provides a leadership role in identification and selection of metrics for evaluating the quality of the medication-use system, provides education on quality improvement, and connects pharmacists to healthcare improvement initiatives.  For more information about the Pharmacy Quality Alliance, please visit or contact us at (703) 347-7963.

About HealthPartners
Founded in 1957, HealthPartners is the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation. The organization is dedicated to improving health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community, and provides a full-range of health care delivery and health plan services including insurance, administration and health and well-being programs. HealthPartners Clinic, Park Nicollet Clinic, Lakeview Health, Physicians Neck & Back Center, TRIA Orthopaedic Center and are all part of HealthPartners. HealthPartners also provides medical education and conducts research through HealthPartners Institute. For more information, visit .

About the UA College of Pharmacy
Established in 1947, the College of Pharmacy was the first health sciences college at the University of Arizona and is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Educating pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists, the college participates in many interprofessional and multi-institutional educational and research collaborations throughout Arizona and globally. It is ranked among the premier colleges of pharmacy in the United States and is often among the top 20 colleges of pharmacy in terms of external funding for research, including funding from the National Institutes of Health. For more information, visit .

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