Avoiding accidental calls to relatives of the recently deceased

If a patient, unfortunately, passes on, it is safe to say that they won't be bothered by a phone call from a pharmacist looking to conduct a medication review. It's also safe to assume that if the pharmacist had known the patient was deceased, they wouldn't have called in the first place.

In most cases, a provider, payer, or pharmacist isn't one of the first to know when someone passes on. Moreover, by the time they collect the information, it can sometimes take a long time for all applicable systems to be updated appropriately. The industry has made steady strides in achieving interoperability goals that would shrink this delay, but as we know, there's much work to be done.

Sadly, because of this delay, many MTM providers end up calling deceased patients only to be told by family members about the death. This error is at worst merely embarrassing for the provider but, in many cases, a devastating reminder for the relative. I've listened in on heart-wrenching calls that, in most cases, could have been avoided.

With this problem in mind, CSS has rolled out a series of enhancements to MTMPath to better deal with deceased patients, including a striking visual to ensure a user knows a patient they are viewing has died. We've also closed loopholes to prevent these patients from being accidentally enrolled or reenrolled in our programs. Lastly, we've reengaged our at-risk customers to ensure we're ingesting date of death as regularly as possible.

There's not a single one-and-done fix for this problem, but we're confident that these collective efforts will help prevent these types of unnecessary calls and provide relatives with peace during a difficult time.

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