NACDS Members Meet with HHS Secretary Burwell as Open Enrollment Nears for 2015 Exchange-Based Health Insurance
Urges patients-first approach on issues including insurance open enrollment, Medicaid, medication management, and pharmacy provider status
Arlington, Va. (October 17, 2014) — With open enrollment for the 2015 health insurance plan year set to begin on November 15, National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) members were invited by Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Sylvia Burwell to participate in a pharmacy issues meeting today with the Secretary, HHS officials and pharmacy stakeholders at HHS headquarters in Washington, DC. NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE released the following statement regarding NACDS’ engagement in the meeting:
“We appreciate the opportunity to participate in the pharmacy issues meeting with Secretary Burwell today. Patients rely on their pharmacies as trusted sources of information on healthcare topics, so NACDS again will make it a priority to work on a collaborative basis to help present clear and accurate information to patients — to empower their healthcare decisions in the still-new health exchange landscape. NACDS also has appreciated the opportunity to comment formally to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and to make recommendations intended to create a smooth start for new exchange enrollees seeking prescription drug coverage in the 2015 plan year.
“This is similar to pharmacy’s patient-focused collaboration in the lead-up to the January 2014 roll-out of exchange-based insurance. It also reflects pharmacy’s similar work in the roll-out of Medicare Part D, in the response to H1N1, in vaccination-awareness efforts, and in providing necessary goods and services during natural disasters.
“NACDS members also valued the chance today to continue the discussion of opportunities to leverage the value of pharmacy in other areas. These include familiar and important functions like the dispensing of medication and helping patients take their medications correctly, as well as opportunities to make new and better use of the extensive education of pharmacists for the good of patient care.
“We took the opportunity to urge continued vigilance in the ongoing effort to create a fair and accurate pharmacy reimbursement structure to help ensure medication access for Medicaid beneficiaries.
“We also took the opportunity to discuss medication therapy management (MTM), which uses face-to-face interaction with a pharmacist to help patients take medications as prescribed. We are pleased that the HHS proposed rule issued earlier this year included an expansion of MTM services within the Medicare Part D program, indicating support for reforms to help pharmacy better serve its patients.
“Pharmacists are widely trusted and extremely valued by patients in the greatest need. Pending bipartisan legislation illustrates the strong support for leveraging pharmacy services to help care for the nation’s most vulnerable patients. With 116 cosponsors, H.R. 4190 would designate pharmacists as healthcare providers under Medicare Part B, to empower them to provide services in medically underserved communities, as allowed by state laws.
“NACDS appreciates the growing recognition of the importance of pharmacies as the face of neighborhood healthcare, and looks forward to continuing to expand partnerships designed to foster patient education and quality patient care.”
NACDS represents traditional drug stores and supermarkets and mass merchants with pharmacies. Chains operate more than 40,000 pharmacies, and NACDS’ 125 chain member companies include regional chains, with a minimum of four stores, and national companies. Chains employ more than 3.8 million individuals, including 175,000 pharmacists. They fill over 2.7 billion prescriptions yearly, and help patients use medicines correctly and safely, while offering innovative services that improve patient health and healthcare affordability. NACDS members also include more than 800 supplier partners and nearly 40 international members representing 13 countries. For more information, visit www.NACDS.org.