Paul Kelly, vice president of federal government affairs for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, this week outlined key issues for community pharmacy and its role in fostering public health care and health care reform in testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.


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NACDS' Kelly addresses House on health care reform

June 25th, 2009
NACDS' Paul Kelly testifies before the House subcommittee.

WASHINGTON – Paul Kelly, vice president of federal government affairs for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, this week outlined key issues for community pharmacy and its role in fostering public health care and health care reform in testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.

His testimony was part of the committee’s review of the draft health care reform legislation released by the chairmen of the Committees on Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means and Education and Labor.

“One of pharmacy’s major contributions is helping with medication adherence. It has major implications for patient health and for health care costs,” Kelly stated, adding that nonadherence has been estimated to cost $177 billion annually.

He also urged Congress to quickly reform the way pharmacies are reimbursed for filling Medicaid prescriptions, noting that the current process could compromise pharmacy access for consumers.

“The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 would set pharmacy reimbursement for some generics at 36% below cost. While aspects of this issue are complex, it comes down to a basic principle of economics. This is unworkable for pharmacies, as it would be for any provider or business,” Kelly explained. “Unless Congress intervenes, current policies would put 20% of pharmacies at risk, most of which serve low-income individuals.”

In addition, Kelly encouraged lawmakers to enhance the medication therapy management (MTM) program in Medicare Part D. He pointed out that MTM is key to maintaining patients' health, and one study finds that pharmacist-provided MTM services can reduce overall health care costs by $12 for every $1 invested.

Kelly also called on legislators to ensure access to diabetes management tools through pharmacies. The misapplication of current rules related to the treatment of durable medical equipment in the Medicare program could threaten patient access and health, he said.

His comments before the committee come in the wake of more than 180 meetings between members of Congress and pharmacy advocates last week during NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill.

Daschle To Keynote NACDS Pharmacy & Technology Conference

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D, S.D.) will be the keynote speaker at this year's NACDS Pharmacy & Technology Conference, which runs August 8 to 11 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center

Daschle is scheduled to speak on Sunday, August 9, at the Business Program to be held from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

“Sen. Daschle is a health care expert,” NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson said in a statement. “Who better to address the value of pharmacy in the health care reform debate than a former United States Senate leader, close confidant to President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius, and active health care reform power player in Washington, D.C.? Senator Daschle certainly fits the bill.”

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