Against the backdrop of the implementation of health care reform, the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) highlighted its key achievements in 2010.

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NCPDP marks year of milestones

February 4th, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Against the backdrop of the implementation of health care reform, the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) highlighted its key achievements in 2010.

NCPDP this week noted how its behind-the-scenes work in standards development and adoption over the past year has led to improved patient safety and care as well as better collaboration and coordination among stakeholders in the pharmacy, pharmaceutical and health care sectors.

During 2010, in the area of electronic prescribing, NCPDP said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) named the SCRIPT Standard — first published by council in 1997 — as a core requirement for achieving "meaningful use." Also, it was recommended to HHS by the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics that NCPDP be formally named as an operating rules entity for retail pharmacy-related eligibility transactions, fulfilling the criteria established in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act health care reform law (H.R. 3590).

In the Medicare arena, NCPDP developed a framework to ensure that the Medicare Part D drug discount, which is available to Medicare beneficiaries in the "doughut hole" coverage gap, can be processed seamlessly and in a timely manner for all stakeholders.

And for pharmacists and drug manufacturers, NCPDP said it devised a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) solution based on its Telecommunication Standard to minimize the impact of REMS on workflow processes while mitigating medication risks. REMS were created by the 2007 Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act to act as a post-marketing surveillance process to ensure medication safety.

NCPDP, too, spotlighted some of its achievements as an organization. The council said that for the second consecutive year in a depressed economy, it posted record attendance at its Annual Technology and Business Conference. And besides its educational programs, which offer instructional and informative webinars and summits on key industry topics, NCPDP increased its outreach to collaborate with other industry associations and governmental agencies. In addition, NCPDP doubled the size of its corporate office to accommodate growth and provide more on-site meeting space for focus groups, board meetings and other industry forums.

"It was an exciting year for NCPDP, to see our work behind the scenes come to the forefront," Lee Ann Stember, president of NCPDP, said in a statement. "In the coming years, we expect to see standards take center stage in health care as a means by which to achieve the interoperability required to improve care delivery and coordination and patient health outcomes."

Last week, NCPDP announced that it has launched RxReconn, an online portal tracking pharmacy-related legislative and regulatory activity. RxReconn is designed to provide subscribers with real-time intelligence on health care legislation and regulation at the federal and state levels.

NCPDP said other ongoing initiatives involve updating its standards to support RxNorm, a valid code set for standardized medication nomenclature used in e-prescribing and electronic health records (EHRs); improving the efficiency of the payment and dispute processes for Medicaid manufacturer rebate reimbursement; and developing transaction standards to support accurate communication, documentation and measurement of medication therapy management (MTM).