Antipsychotic reduction goal attainable, medical expert says

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Providers still have two months left to achieve a reduction of 15% in off-label use of antipsychotics, a goal that is achievable, a top medical expert says.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, with the support of the American Health Care Association and LeadingAge, set the goal in the wake of several reports about alleged overuse of the medications among nursing home residents.

For a nursing home with 100 residents with 22 on antipsychotics, stopping three or four residents achieves the 15% reduction, pointed out Cheryl Phillips, M.D., Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Public Policy at LeadingAge, in an interview with McKnight's Editor James M. Berklan. 

“Yes, it is a little scary, but I am optimistic that the 15% reduction will happen,” Phillips said. “But I'm also optimistic because it's changing the framework just from meds to focusing on this to, ‘How do I do this and do a better job of taking care of those with dementia?'”

Phillips also discussed the most recent bill from Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) that tackles, among other topics, informed consent of antipsychotics use.

“It is always interesting when Congress practices medicine,” Phillips said wryly. “We are of the position that we believe very much in information sharing. My concern is that we don't devolve into just a consent form, a paper-signing process. That will in essence bring us further away from true, engaged decision-making. 

The video interview, conducted during the LeadingAge 2012 national convention in Denver on Oct. 23, can be seen above or at www.mcknights.com. Click here to read the transcript.

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