Medication acquisition by veterans dually eligible for Veterans Affairs and Medicare Part D pharmacy benefits.

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PURPOSE: The patterns of medication acquisition for veterans dually eligible for pharmacy benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Medicare Part D-reimbursed pharmacies were examined.

METHODS: The characteristics of veterans who used pharmacies reimbursed by (1) VA only, (2) both VA and Part D-reimbursed, and (3) Part D-reimbursed only pharmacies in 2009 were compared and their medication types and sources examined. Pharmacy usage was measured as the number of 30-day medication supplies and the number of different drug classes that veterans received from VA and Part D-reimbursed pharmacies. Chi-square testing and analysis of variance were used to compare unadjusted patient characteristics and healthcare utilization.

RESULTS: A total of 145,899 veterans with any VA or Part D-reimbursed pharmacy use were included in the study: 69.6% used VA pharmacies only, 9.9% used VA and Part D-reimbursed pharmacies, and 20.5% used Part D-reimbursed pharmacies only. Veterans who lived in rural areas, were non-Black, had VA medication copayments, or were dual or Medicare-only outpatient users were more likely to be dual or Part D-reimbursed only pharmacy users (p < 0.001). Dual pharmacy users received more 30-day supplies than did the other two pharmacy-use groups (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Nearly one third of VA users received medications from Part D-reimbursed pharmacies, either alone or together with VA pharmacies. Among dual pharmacy users, over half received medications from the same drug class from both VA and Part D-reimbursed pharmacies for which the days' supplies overlapped by more than seven days.