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Medication management key to exchange health plans, NACDS says
January 22nd, 2014
ARLINGTON, Va. – Consumers shopping for health insurance on the new exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act should get some more information on the plans' medication management capabilities, according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.
NACDS said Wednesday that it submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) urging the agency to adopt measures related to medication adherence and appropriate medication use as part of its Quality Rating System (QRS) for Qualiﬁed Health Plans (QHPs), which are offered through health insurance exchanges.
The letter stressed the importance of strong, consistent quality medication measures across federal and state programs to help drive and improve accountability and transparency. NACDS said its letter also noted the success of medication measures in the Medicare Star Ratings program in driving improved patient outcomes.
Including stronger medication measures will "provide powerful incentives to improve quality of care and patient outcomes, as well as meaningful consumer protections regarding affordable, quality health care and meaningful, reliable and actionable rating information," NACDS noted in the letter.
Medication measures are closely linked to better patient outcomes and lower total medical expenses, NACDS also pointed out to CMS. Citing a recent CMS study within the Medicare Part D program, the letter highlights that medication therapy management (MTM) can improve drug therapy outcomes and slash costs for catastrophic care and emergency room visits.
CMS should align medication management measures with Medicare as it implements health exchanges, according to NACDS.
"Given the beneﬁcial impact of MTM to the Medicare Part D program, we believe MTM should also become the cornerstone of drug coverage in QHPs," the association said in the letter.
"A lack of alignment on medication management standards undermines consumer education efforts and diminishes the ability of individuals to have a consistent understanding of the state and federal quality and performance measures with respect to safe, consistent and appropriate medication use," NACDS added.