UM Pharmacy Professor Impacts Mississippi Health Care

Allison Bell appointed to serve on Medicaid Drug Utilization Review Board

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi pharmacy professor is working to shape health care in Mississippi by serving on the Mississippi Division of Medicaid Drug Utilization Review Board.


“It is our job to make sure that the Medicaid population is utilizing their drugs in the most effective way possible so they receive the greatest health benefit,” said Allison Bell, assistant professor of pharmacy practice. “We want to be sure that the medications are being used correctly and that they are cost-effective.”

Bell was appointed to the DUR board in September. The board is tasked with assuring appropriate drug therapy with regard to beneficiary outcomes and education of pharmacists, physicians and patients. It reviews utilization of drug therapy and evaluates the long-term success of the treatments. The board is composed of 12 pharmacists and physicians who are active Mississippi Medicaid providers.


The board works together with the Mississippi Evidence-Based DUR Initiative, or MS-DUR, which began in UM’s Center for Pharmaceutical Marketing and Management. Because the program is administered in an academic setting, its goal is to advance the science and discipline of DUR and adding to common knowledge about related strategies.


“MS-DUR conducts the retrospective DUR for the Mississippi Medicaid pharmacy program,” said Kyle Null, the initiative’s clinical director. “All Medicaid programs across the nation have these programs to review pharmacy claims to be sure that drugs are being used appropriately by beneficiaries. Over the last several years, there has been a shift from private companies running the programs to schools of pharmacy. This gives the programs more opportunities to publish and share information.”


Bell has previous experience working with Medicaid patients.


“My work in an in-patient hospital has prepared me for this new appointment,” she said. “A lot of the patients I interact with on a daily basis are on Medicaid, which gives me a relevant perspective.”


Leigh Ann Ross, UM associate dean for clinical affairs and chair of pharmacy practice, recommended Bell for service on the board.


“The School of Pharmacy shares the Division of Medicaid’s goal of improving the lives of the citizens we serve by providing quality health care services,” she said. “Appropriate medication use positively impacts patient outcomes and retrospective DUR is an important part of the division’s quality assurance process to ensure optimal medication therapy use through monitoring and provider education.


“Dr. Bell’s background in pharmacoeconomics and clinical practice in internal medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center will allow her to provide a unique perspective to Medicaid’s DUR activities. We appreciate our partnership with the Division of Medicaid, and we are delighted to contribute to our shared goals through Dr. Bell’s service on the board.”


Bell’s first quarterly board meeting was Thursday (Nov. 15).


“I want to do the best that I can for patients in Mississippi,” Bell said. “Providing quality care is of the utmost importance.”