The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is teaming up with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to promote the use of community-based care transition programs as a way to improve patient health and cut health care costs.


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NACDS partners with HHS, CMS on care transition

April 13th, 2011

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is teaming up with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to promote the use of community-based care transition programs as a way to improve patient health and cut health care costs.

NACDS said Wednesday that HHS estimates the effort, dubbed "Partnership for Patients: Better Care, Lower Costs," will help save 60,000 lives and up to $35 billion — including up to $10 billion for Medicare — by preventing complications when patients move from one care setting to another, such as when they are released from the hospital and return home.

The association also praised the initiative's recognition of pharmacy's role in helping patients take their medications as prescribed.

In addition, NACDS said it signed the Partnership Commitment Pledge, which states, "As professionals who have dedicated our lives to caring for patients, families and communities, we support the goals of this initiative and commit to building on work already under way to achieve safe, high-quality care by utilizing tools and processes that seek to improve safety and continuity for patients."

Under the pledge, NACDS, HHS and CMS will work to redesign activities across clinical settings to reduce harm, reduce preventable readmissions, and improve care transitions; engage with patients and families to implement practices that foster more patient-centered care that improves safety, communication and care coordination; and learn from and share with others their experiences with making care safer and better coordinated.

NACDS noted that one element of the effort is spurring the use of medication review and management to help rein in health care expenditures while improving outcomes.

"Today's announcement continues the momentum behind the increased recognition of the value of pharmacy services in healthcare delivery, and we applaud Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Dr. Don Berwick for recognizing pharmacy's ability to help reduce costs and save and improve lives," NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson said in a statement.

"The pharmacist is an important partner as a patient transitions from a hospital to other settings of care," Anderson explained. "Pharmacists provide counseling on how best to take medications as prescribed — also known as medication adherence — which can help ensure optimum patient health and prevent more costly and avoidable forms of care."

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 provided $500 million in new funding for community-based care transition programs to reduce hospital readmissions and improve patient care, according to NACDS. The association pointed out that this collaborative approach by community health care providers would enable patients to receive the most appropriate and individualized care as they transition from a hospital.

"As the New England Healthcare Institute found, the result of patients not taking their medications as prescribed is more than $290 billion in additional costs each year resulting from emergency and catastrophic health care costs, among other factors. These costs can be curbed through the utilization of pharmacy within the health care delivery system and programs like this partnership," Anderson stated. "As the face of neighborhood health care, pharmacy is part of the solution."

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