Retail News Breaks
Retail pharmacy groups back Senate MTM bill
June 29th, 2010
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and National Community Pharmacists Association are endorsing the Medication Therapy Management Expanded Benefits Act of 2010, saying that it builds on pharmacy-specific provisions in the recently passed health care reform law.
NACDS and NCPA said the bill, authored and introduced Tuesday by Sen. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.), aims to enhance pharmacist-provided medication therapy management (MTM) services — first codified into law in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 — for Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries by opening MTM services to patients with any chronic condition or disease. Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.) is an original cosponsor of the bill.
"NACDS appreciates the leadership of Sen. Hagan in advancing this cost-effective and proven pharmacy service," NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson said in a statement. "By encouraging MTM services in neighborhood pharmacies, the bill would improve public health and reduce health care costs by helping patients to take their medications in the right ways and avoid complications with their drug therapies.
"Patients suffering from chronic disease — be it diabetes, hypertension, asthma or other conditions — will benefit from these pharmacy services, which also strengthen the pharmacist-patient relationship," Anderson added. "We thank Sens. Hagan and Franken for their commitment to improving health care in a way that stands to reduce costs and improve lives."
NACDS and NCPA noted that the new bill is the Senate's companion to the Medication Therapy Management Benefits Act of 2009 (H.R. 3108), introduced in the House by Rep. Mike Ross (D., Ark.) last year. Both associations endorsed that legislation as well.
"There is a treasure trove of compelling evidence about the effectiveness of MTM services, which is why NCPA and its members strongly support this bill," commented Douglas Hoey, acting executive vice president and CEO of NCPA. "For many Medicare Part D patients, the challenges of coping with numerous chronic conditions and diseases require an expert's consultation, and pharmacists are clinically-trained in helping ensure their patients are getting the best possible results.
"The bill offered by Sens. Hagan and Franken is the next logical step in broadening the reach of MTM," Hoey stated. "NCPA urges the Senate to move expeditiously to pass this bill, because true health care reform needs to incorporate all the best practices."
Only half of Americans stay on their prescription drug regimen, according to NACDS and NCPA. A July 2009 report by the New England Health Institute estimated that the overall cost of poor medication adherence, measured in otherwise avoidable medical spending, is as much as $290 billion per year, or 13% of total health care outlays. Those costs include increased hospitalizations, doctor and emergency room visits, and factors related to preventable disease progression.
MTM enables pharmacists to work with patients to review, monitor and identify problems with their medications, as well as to coordinate with a doctor to resolve any problems. The associations added that one MTM program with 186 patients through Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota found reductions in health care costs per person of 31.5%, with the return on investment at $12.15 per $1.00 of MTM services provided.
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