May 1, 2018

Coriell Life Sciences Pilot Partner 2018 SALGBA Awardee

Coriell Life Sciences Partner Wins SALGBA Challenge Award
Teachers’ Retirement System of Kentucky personalized medicine pilot recognized with national award

Pharmacogenomic (PGx) testing, the foundation of this new precision medicine turnkey program, analyzes a person’s DNA to determine that individual’s response to medications based on how their genes metabolize drugs. During the pilot, about 83 percent of retirees received recommendations for an alternative medication or dosage adjustment based on the results of their DNA test. In addition, 94 percent of these suggestions were approved by prescribers.


Coriell Life Sciences is proud to announce the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) of Kentucky Personalized Medicine Project was recognized with a national award for healthcare innovation from the State and Local Government Benefits Association (SALGBA). Members of the TRS of Kentucky team accepted the SALGBA Innovation Challenge Award at its annual national conference held May 1, 2018.

The award —one of the most sought-after in the benefits administration marketplace— recognizes highly successful and efficient programs that demonstrate great satisfaction from benefit recipients.  Historically, awardees’ solutions are widely embraced by other state and local organizations and recognized as a best practice.

“We’re focused on helping our participants get healthier and improve their quality of life — Coriell Life Sciences’ Enterprise PGx program aligns with our mission and really made a difference,” said Jane Cheshire Gilbert, CPA, Director of Retiree Health for the Teachers’ Retirement System of Kentucky.

Taking medications that don’t work can be dangerous for TRS of Kentucky members and adverse medication reactions are costly to the TRS insurance fund. One of the key aims of the pilot is to advance patients’ health and to reduce costs using pharmacogenomics and expert pharmacy review. To date, more than 28,000 retirees in the Medicare Eligible Health Plan (MEHP) were invited to participate, of that number over 4,000 retirees have enrolled, and more than 2,800 have submitted DNA samples — with enrollments expected to keep growing as the program continues to demonstrate successful outcomes.

According to Scott Megill, Coriell Life Sciences CEO and President, “Public and private organizations are losing significant money on members’ drug regimens as a result of genetic response.  With our Enterprise PGx program, it doesn’t have to be that way. One of the unique aspects of our turnkey program is it can scale very quickly to cover large populations and work as an integrated or stand-alone system.” 

The pilot partnership includes the TRS of Kentucky and its retirees, the Know Your Rx Coalition of pharmacists, and Coriell Life Sciences, a trusted provider of genetic laboratory interpretation and reporting services. Coriell Life Sciences tests the DNA and interprets genetic and pertinent non-genetic information using their proprietary medication assessment tool, GeneDose LIVE. The Know Your Rx pharmacists use these results to review the member’s current medication regimen and build a customized Medication Action Plan. This Medication Action Plan is then shared directly with the member and his or her physician to determine next steps. The member does not pay for the DNA test, medication review, and pharmacist intervention–this program is covered in full by TRS.

Jeff Shaman, Chief Science Officer at Coriell Life Sciences adds, “Our focus is on providing clinically actionable —versus just medically relevant— information as one of the fastest ways to improve outcomes and reduce waste. We believe this approach to pharmacogenomics will become the standard-of-care in the coming years and TRS’ foresight to establish this cost-effective approach will be seen as noteworthy.”

SALGBA, based in Berea, Kentucky, is an organization for public sector benefits professionals with more than 1,500 members in all 50 states. Total membership includes both public sector and business entity members who cover more than 5 million employees and represent a gross health benefits expenditure of more than $14 billion annually.

The Teachers’ Retirement System of Kentucky is a defined benefit retirement plan that pays a defined amount upon retirement based on length of service and final average salary of the employee, along with a retirement multiplier. TRS retirement eligibility is determined by the employee’s age and years of service. The service retirement annuity is a guaranteed lifetime benefit.