An Evaluation of a Multidisciplinary Pediatric Behavioral Health Medication Initiative Workgroup's Interventions on Medication Prescribing in a Population of Medicaid Patients

UMMS Affiliation

Commonwealth Medicine, Clinical Pharmacy Services; Commonwealth Medicine, Center for Health Policy and Research

Publication Date


Document Type



Behavioral Medicine | Health Economics | Health Law and Policy | Health Policy | Health Services Administration | Health Services Research | Pediatrics | Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


BACKGROUND: In response to concerns surrounding pediatric behavioral health medication prescribing, the Massachusetts Medicaid Pharmacy Program implemented a Pediatric Behavioral Health Medication Initiative (PBHMI), proactively requiring prior authorization for specific behavioral health medications and combination regimens. A multidisciplinary therapeutic class management (TCM) workgroup retrospectively reviews complex cases and conducts prescriber outreach to encourage evidence-based practices in Massachusetts.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate recommendation outcomes of telephonic peer-to-peer consultations conducted by the PBHMI TCM workgroup by assessing the percentage of accepted, modified accepted, or rejected recommendations, as well as prescriber satisfaction with consultation.

METHODS: This retrospective evaluation reviewed PBHMI TCM workgroup cases with completed peer-to-peer consultations from September 1, 2015, to August 28, 2016. The proportion of medication interventions (e.g., medication changes, dose reductions, and elimination of polypharmacy within or across behavioral health medication classes) accepted, modified accepted, or rejected were assessed based on pharmacy claims data and prior authorization resubmission, following a peer-to-peer consultation. The medication class and prescriber type were categorized in relation to the acceptance, modified acceptance, or rejection outcomes. Satisfaction with the TCM workgroup process was evaluated with an anonymous survey offered to prescribers who participated in prescriber outreach.

RESULTS: A total of 70 cases requiring a peer-to-peer consultation by a TCM workgroup child/adolescent psychiatrist had a completed outreach attempt during the evaluation period. Peer-to-peer consultations resulted in a recommendation acceptance rate of 31.4% (22/70), modified acceptance rate of 44.3% (31/70), and a rejection rate of 24.3% (17/70). Recommendations made during a peer-to-peer consultation were rejected by 30% (12/40) of child/adolescent psychiatrists compared with 16.7% (5/30) of nonchild/adolescent psychiatrists with completed peer-to-peer consultations (P = 0.43). Antipsychotics were most frequently recommended for regimen changes. All recommendations pertaining to a benzodiazepine were accepted by the prescriber. Results of an anonymous prescriber survey assessing satisfaction with the peer-to-peer consultation process exhibited variable responses among individual prescribers.

CONCLUSIONS: The small sample size in this observational evaluation and lack of a defined control group prevented direct associations between the endpoints and outcomes. Further research is required to determine if prescriber specialty and medication class may be influencing factors on recommendation acceptance.

DISCLOSURES: No outside funding supported this study. The authors have nothing to disclose. A poster of this project was presented at the AMCP Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy Annual Meeting 2017; March 27-30, 2017; in Denver, CO.

DOI of Published Version



J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2018 Aug;24(8):746-751. doi: 10.18553/jmcp.2018.24.8.746. Link to article on publisher's website

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID