NACDS Endorses Bipartisan House Bill to Expand MTM Services for Seniors

Published Online: Thursday, March 7, 2013
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PRESS RELEASE

March 7, 2013

NACDS Applauds Leadership of Bill Sponsors U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Ron Kind, Lee Terry, Bruce Braley

Arlington, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) today announced its endorsement of H.R. 1024, the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2013, introduced today by U.S. Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Ron Kind (D-WI), Lee Terry (R-NE) and Bruce Braley (D-IA).  This pro-patient, pro-pharmacy bipartisan legislation seeks to expand access to MTM services for senior citizens enrolled in the Medicare program.

“NACDS appreciates the leadership of U.S. Rep. McMorris Rodgers in spearheading this commonsense legislation, as well as Reps. Kind, Terry and Braley.  This bill can help patients understand the importance of taking their medications as prescribed,” said NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE.  “Innovative pharmacy services such as MTM help to improve patient health and healthcare affordability, especially for those suffering from chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma and other conditions.”  

“We all acknowledge the tremendous advancements that have been made in medicine, but more than half of all patients do not take their medications correctly – and seniors are particularly vulnerable,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers.  “These health risks – and the exorbitant costs associated with them – can be substantially reduced if MTM is expanded.  That is exactly what this legislation will do.  This bill will reduce costs and promote overall health for seniors in Eastern Washington and all across America.”

Medication therapy management (MTM) is a professional service offered by pharmacists and other qualified health practitioners that helps ensure medications are taken appropriately to help reduce the risk of adverse events, and help control healthcare costs.  Congress created the MTM benefit under the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 for Medicare beneficiaries by requiring MTM services for patients on multiple medications suffering from chronic conditions or diseases.

Health policy research group NEHI cites that only 50 percent of patients take their medications properly as prescribed by their doctor, which costs the nation more than $290 billion annually in avoidable health spending annually. 

With increasing focus on patient-centered pharmacy education and growing recognition for pharmacists’ for their medication expertise, MTM has been advanced substantially.  

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released a study showing that in comparison to Medicare beneficiaries with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or congestive heart failure (CHF) who did not receive any MTM services in 2010, those who were enrolled in MTM programs – particularly those who received annual comprehensive medication reviews – experienced significant improvements in the quality of their drug regimens and costs were saved.

In addition, last November the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report which found that after reviewing recent research, CBO “estimates that a 1 percent increase in the number of prescriptions filled by beneficiaries would cause Medicare’s spending on medical services to fall by roughly one-fifth of 1 percent.”  In real world terms this means for each one percent increase in overall prescription drug utilization an overall decrease of $1.7 billion in overall healthcare costs, or a savings of $5.76 for every person in the U.S.

“Pharmacists are widely trusted healthcare professionals with extensive education.  They are trained medication specialists who work collaboratively to help patients use medicines safely and stay healthy,” said Anderson.  “This legislation will go a long way in helping to further pharmacists’ ability to help improve patient health and make healthcare more affordable.”

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