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Schleiden LJ, Zickmund SL, Roman KL, Kennedy K, Thorpe JM, Rossi MI, Niznik JD, Springer SP, Thorpe CT. Caregiver and provider perspectives on dual VA and Medicare Part D medication use in veterans with suspected dementia or cognitive impairment. American journal of health-system pharmacy : AJHP : official journal of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. 2022 Jan 5; 79(2):94-101.
PURPOSE: Many older veterans with dementia fill prescriptions through both Veterans Affairs (VA) and Medicare Part D benefits. Dual VA/Part D medication use may have unintended negative consequences in terms of prescribing safety and quality. We aimed to characterize benefits and drawbacks of dual VA/Part D medication use in veterans with dementia or cognitive impairment from the perspectives of caregivers and providers. METHODS: This was a qualitative study based on semistructured telephone interviews of 2 groups: (1) informal caregivers accompanying veterans with suspected dementia or cognitive impairment to visits at a VA Geriatric Evaluation and Management clinic (n = 11) and (2) VA healthcare providers of veterans with dementia who obtained medications via VA and Part D (n = 12). We conducted semistructured telephone interviews with caregivers and providers about benefits and drawbacks of dual VA/Part D medication use. Interview transcripts were subjected to qualitative content analysis to identify key themes. RESULTS: Caregivers and providers both described cost and convenience benefits to dual VA/Part D medication use. Caregivers reported drawbacks including poor communication between VA and non-VA providers and difficulty managing medications from multiple systems. Providers reported potential safety risks including communication barriers, conflicting care decisions, and drug interactions. CONCLUSION: Results of this study allow for understanding of potential policy interventions to better manage dual VA/Part D medication use for older veterans with dementia or cognitive impairment at a time when VA is expanding access to non-VA care.