Retail News Breaks Archives
Bigger role sought for pharmacists in ACOs
February 4th, 2013
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores are calling for the federal government to expand pharmacists' role in accountable care organizations (ACOs).
NCPA and NACDS said Monday that they have sent a letter to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation urging the agency to use its authority under section 1115(A) of the Social Security Act to broaden the role of pharmacists in new ACO models, community-based transitions of care and bundled payment initiatives.
The associations noted that current Medicare law doesn't recognize pharmacists as providers, potentially limiting their participation in new health care models.
"Permitting pharmacists to practice to their maximum capabilities within these new delivery models would help increase medication adherence and coordination between health care settings, result in higher rates of vaccinations, and reduce the burden of the physician shortage, particularly with the influx of new patients in 2014 through the Health Care Marketplaces and the expansion of Medicaid eligibility," NCPA and NACDS stated in the letter.
ACOs are groups of doctors and other health care providers that coordinate care and take responsibility for the cost and quality of care for a specific population of patients.
"Because pharmacists have the proven ability to provide services which lead to better clinical outcomes and lower health care costs, we urge the Innovation Center to use its authority to find mechanisms for pharmacists to participate in these programs, such as granting pharmacists provider status for the purpose of participating in Innovation Center projects," NCPA and NACDS wrote. "Doing so would allow pharmacists to join other health care professionals in the new patient care opportunities taking place at the Innovation Center.
"Without this action, pharmacists may be unable to provide and bill for their services and are therefore not being utilized by participants to the maximum extent possible," the associations added. "This may be limiting the ways in which pharmacists can contribute to meeting the Innovation Center's goals."
NCPA and NACDS said pharmacists can play a pivotal role in improving health care outcomes and reining in medical expenses via such services as medication therapy management, medication reconciliation and immunizations.