Alexandria, Va. March 14, 2013 - The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) today announced its strong support for bipartisan legislation (S. 557, the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act) introduced by Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) and cosponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Al Franken (D-MN), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Pat Roberts (R-KS) to expand the pool of patients who qualify for medication therapy management (MTM) programs. Similar legislation to S. 557 was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) last week.
MTM involves pharmacists working with patients to review and monitor their medication plan to maximize its effectiveness and avoid potential health problems, ultimately helping to reduce costs in the long run. With approximately 1.5 million preventable adverse drug effects occurring every year as a result of medication errors, medication therapy programs can greatly improve patient safety.
"For many Medicare patients, the challenges of coping with chronic conditions require an expert's consultation, and pharmacists are clinically-trained in helping ensure their patients are getting the best possible results for their health," said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. "That's why NCPA is once again pleased to support federal legislation to expand the number of seniors eligible for this service."
S. 557, the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act, will increase the number of Medicare Part D beneficiaries who qualify for one-on-one counseling sessions with a licensed pharmacist to any patient with a chronic medical condition, such as diabetes or hypertension. Currently, only those patients suffering from specific multiple chronic conditions are eligible.
Research indicates that the cost savings from MTM can be significant. One Minnesota study found a 12:1 return-on-investment for MTM. In North Carolina, Kerr Drug reports that MTM programs there helping seniors produced a 13:1 return.
NCPA has long advocated for effective medication therapy management programs as a means to improve patient care. Seven years ago, NCPA created a company called Mirixa to work with community pharmacies and health plans in providing MTM services to Medicare and private patients. Since then, it has helped plans and payers lower overall health care costs and enhance the quality of care.
Hoey continued, "Medication therapy management programs can reduce serious health risks among patients and save lives while at the same time helping to lower health care costs. NCPA thanks Senators Hagan, Brown, Franken, Johnson, Klobuchar, and Roberts for their continued commitment to improving patient care for America's seniors, and we encourage Congress to act quickly on both the Senate and House bills."
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent an $88.5 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 300,000 individuals, including over 62,000 pharmacists. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com/.
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