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Chain drug industry backs ‘better, smarter’ care

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NACDS, Rite Aid CEOs at White House launch of health payment network

WASHINGTON — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores joined President Barack Obama and Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell at the White House to launch the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network, whose participants include Rite Aid, Walgreens and Walmart.

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Rite Aid chairman and CEO and NACDS chairman John Standley and NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson at the White House launch event for the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network.

Announced Wednesday, the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network brings together a range of health care stakeholders to foster the adoption of alternative payment models and value-based payments — emphasizing quality rather than quantity of care.

To date, more than 2,800 partners — including payers, providers, states, consumer groups and employers — have registered to participate in the network, which serve as a mechanism to facilitate the sharing and learning of value-based payments models, such as accountable care organizations (ACOs) .

NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson and NACDS chairman John Standley, chairman and CEO of Rite Aid Corp., attended the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network launch event at the White House, which included remarks from President Obama and HHS Secretary Burwell.

“We were honored to be included in today’s event at the White House, and we look forward to working with the administration and other industry stakeholders to promote the value pharmacy and pharmacists bring to advancing patient health and a more efficient health care system,” Anderson said. “We will continue to highlight the need to ensure pharmacy is included in innovative care delivery models.”

Obama described the initiative as “the start of a new phase” in efforts begun under the Affordable Care Act in which health care professionals and other stakeholders “come together in one new network with one big goal, and that is to continue to improve the cost and quality of health care in America.”

According to HHS, the network will promote “better, smarter, healthier” care. The department explained that, historically, health providers have been paid based on the quantity of care they give patients, with each X-ray, test, procedure or doctor’s visit bringing in more money.

For example, HHS said, the doctor who properly diagnosed high blood pressure on the patient’s first visit and prescribed the correct medication was paid less than the doctor who misdiagnosed the patient, resulting in the patient having to come back in for follow-up visits to get the proper diagnosis. To help refocus health care services on efficacy, the Affordable Care Act created new payment models that emphasize the quality of the care, in turn giving providers a financial incentive to coordinate care for their patients and get the right care to the right patient the first time.

“It is in our common interest to build a health care system that delivers better care, spends our health care dollars more wisely, and results in healthier people,” Burwell said at the event. “When government and business work together we can all benefit. Patients can get the right care at the right time, doctors can achieve the best ideals of their profession, and health care can be more affordable for individuals and companies.”

Rite Aid noted that one of its efforts in this direction is the Rite Aid Health Alliance, an integrated delivery model in which the drug chain’s pharmacists and specially trained health coaches partner with physicians to help patients with chronic diseases better manage their conditions.

“Rite Aid is committed to the goals of value-based health care and remains highly focused on delivering quality, cost-effective care that drives the best possible health outcomes for our patients. We support the administration and Congress in their efforts to achieve these critical goals and look forward to actively participating in the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network,” Rite Aid said in a statement.

The drug chain reported that it’s working with its benefit administration partners to have more than 50% of the company’s and employees’ medical spend supported by health care access via alternative models by 2018.

“Rite Aid applauds President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell for their leadership in forming the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network,” Rite Aid said. “We are proud to join this important initiative and look forward to working with the administration and Congress to drive improvements and innovation throughout our nation’s health care delivery system.”

In January, HHS unveiled plans to boost the use of value-based payments in Medicare system and set goals that tie rising percentages of Medicare fee-for-service payments to quality or value via alternative payment models annually through 2018.

The department aims to move 30% of Medicare payments into alternative payment models by the end of 2016 and 50% into such payment models by the end of 2018. Besides ACOs, alternative payment models include bundled payments and advanced primary care medical homes.


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