The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) should consider the role that pharmacy plays in delivering patient-centered care and lowering health care costs as it devises rules for accountable care organizations (ACOs), according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.


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NACDS to CMS: Rx should be accountable care partner

December 7th, 2010

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) should consider the role that pharmacy plays in delivering patient-centered care and lowering health care costs as it devises rules for accountable care organizations (ACOs), according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

In a letter to CMS administrator Donald Berwick late last week, NACDS recommended that medication therapy management be a core element in an ACO.

ACOs are provider groups that accept responsibility for the cost and quality of care delivered to a specific population of patients.

"A critical factor in the success of an ACO is improving health outcomes and reducing health care costs related to chronic conditions through better medication adherence and medication therapy management (MTM)," the letter stated. "MTM is one solution that has been proven to improve patient medication adherence by leveraging face-to-face consultation with community pharmacists."

NACDS also highlighted the importance of provider-pharmacy partnerships in providing patient-centered care.

"By partnering with community pharmacies, solo and small practice providers will be able to ensure that their patients receive assistance in medication management from qualified pharmacies, leading to better medication adherence which will lead to better health outcomes, enhancing the ability of the provider to effectively treat the patient," the association said in the letter.

In late November, NACDS submitted comments in a letter to the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recommending that pharmacists be included as members of an ACO patient team. NCQA formed a task force that developed criteria as a set of core capabilities that an ACO should demonstrate to be recognized as an accountable entity, and the committee sought comments on this draft qualifying criteria.

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