More Information on COVID-19 Medications, Dialogue on Health Care Coverage Needed Post COVID-19

May 15, 2020
Jill Murphy, Assistant Editor

Primary care will require a focus on individual and community health in the post coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) era, according to a session presented on Thursday during the Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) 2020 Annual Meeting.

Primary care will require a focus on individual and community health in the post coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) era, according to a session presented on Thursday during the Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) 2020 Annual Meeting.

Susan Cantrell, CEO of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP), discussed how the pharmaceutical supply chain is one of the many challenges that the AMCP and other organizations are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have watched these drugs in the pipeline carefully, working 1-on-1 with patients and pharmacists to alleviate shortages for future,” Cantrell said.

CeCi Connelly, president and CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP), added that the public’s attitude and sentiment toward reopening the health care system has been strong, seeing many people experience anxiety about the subject.

“These feelings will tie in greatly to the quality of care and health outcomes over the long run,” Connelly said.

Both Cantrell and Connelly have observed many organizations push digital therapeutics and telemedicine during the pandemic, and the women feel that this kind of patient care will not be going away anytime soon.

“We need to look for innovative ways to deliver care and ways that may have been on our radar, but had barriers previously,” Cantrell said. “A large segment of Americans is able to use telemedicine, so this is a success story for us. How we manage in a post-COVID era will be crucial.”

Adding to this, Connelly mentioned the fact that the elderly population will need to be reached during this transition, no matter what.

“Having audio is an important element of [telemedicine], since not many elderly people have broadband and only have a telephone,” Connelly said.

In terms of COVID-19 medications, Cantrell emphasized that more information and clinical evidence is still needed in order to eliminate uncertainty about which patients will benefit from certain therapies.

“This information is not often available, but it is changing on a daily basis,” Cantrell said. “The AMCP is working hard to get clinical information, data, and evidence made available so that the right decisions can be made about utilizations.”

Although Cantrell saw many wins amid the crisis, with many patient-centric changes occurring with a positive result, she added that there are still many gaps in which the industry needs to build on, such as the lifting of specific restrictions and quality reporting.

“We are still lacking information on managed care that pharmacy professionals need when treatments come to the market,” Cantrell said.

Further, Cantrell touched on the lack of dialogue regarding the rising costs of pharmaceuticals and affordability that she feels should be a priority in the post-COVID-19 era.

“Millions of Americans are losing coverage and transitioning from their company health care plans,” Cantrell said. “Affordability needs to be a top priority in the future.”

For the future of health care, Connelly said that we need to think of the industry and its clinical teams as a “team sport,” with each part having a valuable role in patient care.

“Dialogue around the importance of coverage and patient care is at a vulnerable point in history,” Connelly said. “There are a lot of pieces to the coverage puzzle, and it’s important to get as many of those in place as possible.”

REFERENCE

Cantrell, S and Connelly, C. General Session: The Impact of COVID-19 on Quality. Presented at PQA 2020 Annual Meeting, May 14, 2020.