The most recent letter continues NACDS’ pro-patient, pro-pharmacy drumbeat to federal and state government decision makers as health care policy seems to be approaching a major crossroads in the coming months.
“As you engage with the incoming Trump administration and prepare for the upcoming 115th Congress and potential health care reforms, we ask that you consider the value of community pharmacy in your efforts to provide improved quality of care at lower overall health care costs,” NACDS wrote.
“Particularly with respect to health care markets and state Medicaid programs, policies that reduce local pharmacy access lead to poorer health outcomes, ultimately resulting in increased future health care costs. We believe you should consider policy proposals that, at a minimum, ensure that beneficiary access to community pharmacies is protected. Moreover, as you consider options to improve overall health care delivery, we remind you that community pharmacies are fully equipped to provide better care at a lower cost and stand ready to assist. We hope that you will let the incoming administration and Congress know of the importance of protecting pharmacy services in Medicaid and Medicare as they consider health care reform proposals.”
Pharmacy services, NACDS stated in the letter, “improve quality of life and health care affordability. Helping patients take their medications effectively and providing preventive services, pharmacists help avoid more costly forms of care down the line. Nearly all Americans (91%) live within five miles of a community retail pharmacy. As Americans’ most convenient and accessible health care provider, we look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure that your state’s patients continue to maintain ready access to cost-effective and critical pharmacy services.”
NACDS noted a National Governors Association report, titled “The Expanding Role of Pharmacists in a Transformed Health Care System,” that described opportunities for pharmacists to help improve health care through an expansion of their role in collaborating with physicians and other health care providers to meet patients’ needs. The NGA publication, the NACDS letter goes on to state, advocates that as the demand for health care services continues to grow, pharmacists should be allowed to expand their role by collaborating with physicians and other health care providers to meet patients’ needs.
Americans from every state have come to rely on their local pharmacists as trusted, highly accessible health care providers who remain deeply committed to properly and efficiently dispensing prescriptions as well as helping patients with medication adherence.
To capitalize on these opportunities, NACDS urged enhancements to pharmacists’ scope of practice and the importance of federal legislation — the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act — that would improve access to pharmacist-provided services in Medicare. NACDS also urged proper implementation of the pharmacy Medicaid reimbursement provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which relate to the accessibility of pharmacy patient care.