NACDS submitted a statement to a House Ways and Means Subcommittee On Health for a Wednesday afternoon hearing titled “Member Proposals to Improve and Sustain the Medicare Program.”
To foster health care access and health care delivery partnerships, NACDS called on the subcommittee to support the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592/S. 314). The bipartisan legislation would boost access to pharmacist-provided services to underserved Medicare beneficiaries.
“The lack of pharmacist recognition as a provider by third-party payors, including Medicare and Medicaid, limits the number and types of services pharmacists can provide, even though fully qualified to do so,” NACDS wrote in the statement to subcommittee.
NACDS noted that the bill has been co-sponsored by more than 65% of the House and 45% of the Senate.
“The role pharmacists are playing in health care delivery continues to expand. In addition to medication adherence services, pharmacists are on the front line of providing access to health tests, helping patients manage chronic health conditions and expanding immunization services,” NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson said in a statement. “Expanding access to pharmacist services is a key component to reducing health care costs and improving patient outcomes.”
The association also urged lawmakers to help ensure the inclusion of retail community pharmacists the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Enhanced Medication Therapy Management Model pilot. Announced last fall, the initiative aims to find out if providing additional payment incentives and regulatory flexibility to Medicare Part D sponsor will improve medication adherence, in turn resulting in better patient health outcomes and reduced Medicare expenditures.
Because the pilot is slated to start in 2017, NACDS said it asked lawmakers to support the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2015 (S. 776), which would give MTM access to beneficiaries with chronic conditions in the short term before the pilot is implemented.
“Medication management services provided by community pharmacists improve patient care, improve collaboration among providers, optimize medication use for improved patient outcomes, contribute to medication error prevention, improve hospital and readmission cost avoidance, and enable patients to be more actively involved in medication self-management,” NACDS said in its statement to the subcommittee.