WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sensing change in the air, a group of pharmacy associations have called on the incoming Trump administration and congressional leaders to recognize the role that pharmacies play in the nation’s health care system.
In a letter to the new federal power structure, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA) detailed steps to leverage pharmacy patient care and help rein in costs that result from untreated conditions.
The letter was sent to President-elect Donald Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.), Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.).
In announcing the letter, the pharmacy groups said they were highlighting “pro-patient priorities” with the prospect of a review of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by the new administration and legislative leaders.
“As the incoming administration and Congress consider potential changes to the Medicare and Medicaid programs, we ask that you ensure that beneficiary access to pharmacies is protected. Policies that reduce local pharmacy access lead to poorer health outcomes, ultimately resulting in increased future health care costs,” the associations wrote.
The letter noted the accessibility of pharmacists; their role in boosting medication adherence; the importance of upholding patient pharmacy choice; and the need for fair and accurate Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement, based on the average manufacturer price (AMP)-based federal upper limits (FULs) enacted in the ACA.
In addition, the groups cited an opportunity to build on pharmacists’ success in administering immunizations by improving patient access to pharmacist services for underserved Medicare beneficiaries.
“Nearly all Americans (91%) live within five miles of a community pharmacy. As Americans’ most convenient and accessible health care provider, we look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure that Medicare and Medicaid patients can continue to receive cost-effective pharmacy services. As the demand for healthcare services continues to grow, pharmacists have expanded their role by collaborating with physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers to meet patients’ needs,” the associations wrote.
“The importance of medication-related services and maintaining access to community pharmacists for the Medicare and Medicaid populations cannot be overstated,” they added. “Improving medication adherence can help Congress achieve its goals of better managing care for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries while lowering the overall costs of health care.”