Pharmacy Associations Highlight Pro-Patient Priorities Amid ACA Review

In a letter to the new power structure in Washington, D.C., the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), and the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA) have detailed steps necessary to leverage pharmacy patient care and prevent higher costs that result from untreated conditions.

PRESS RELEASE

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 19, 2016) - In a letter to the new power structure in Washington, D.C., the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), and the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA) have detailed steps necessary to leverage pharmacy patient care and prevent higher costs that result from untreated conditions.

"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 healthcare costs," the associations wrote to President-elect Donald Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan (R-WI), and House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

The letter highlighted:

  • the accessibility of pharmacists;
  • their role in boosting medication adherence, which relates to taking medications as prescribed;
  • the importance of maintaining patients' choice of pharmacies;
  • the importance of assuring fair and accurate Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement, according to average manufacturer price (AMP)-based federal upper limits (FULs) that were enacted in the Affordable Care Act; and
  • opportunities to build on pharmacists' vaccination success story 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 healthcare 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.

While noting the opportunities that exist in newer pharmacist-provided services, the associations emphasized that jeopardizing pharmacy access for medication services threatens health outcomes and healthcare affordability.

The associations explained, "The importance of medication-related services and maintaining access to community pharmacists for the Medicare and Medicaid populations cannot be overstated. Improving medication adherence can help Congress achieve its goals of better managing care for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries while lowering the overall costs of healthcare. Medications are the primary method of treating chronic disease, and are involved in 80% of all treatment regimens. Unfortunately, medication-related problems, including poor adherence, costs the nation approximately $290 billion annually—13% of total healthcare expenditures—and results in health complications, worsening of disease progression, emergency room visits, and hospital stays, all of which are avoidable and costly."