Latebreakers: May 8, 2006

May 8, 2006

CMS has announced plans for a "stakeholder-led Pharmacy QualityAlliance" to improve pharmacy care and outcomes, "includingmeasurement approaches." In recent years, CMS has linkedperformance with pay for other healthcare providers, an examplebeing the Hospital Quality Initiative (HQI). One result of HQI is aWeb-based list of quality measures on which hospitals must reporttheir performance or they get less of an increase in their Medicarereimbursement. CMS plans to set up a similar system for R.Ph.s.

CMS pushes pharmacy alliance for measuring quality

CMS has announced plans for a "stakeholder-led Pharmacy Quality Alliance" to improve pharmacy care and outcomes, "including measurement approaches." In recent years, CMS has linked performance with pay for other healthcare providers, an example being the Hospital Quality Initiative (HQI). One result of HQI is a Web-based list of quality measures on which hospitals must report their performance or they get less of an increase in their Medicare reimbursement. CMS plans to set up a similar system for R.Ph.s.

Monthly injection for alcoholism OK'd

Part D prompt-pay bills introduced

Several bills have been introduced in Congress mandating prompt payment of Medicare Part D Rx claims. A bill sponsored by five Senate Republicans would require that clean electronic Rx claims be paid within 14 days using electronic fund transfers. It would also require guidelines for medication therapy management programs with a two-year community-based demonstration project using R.Ph. services. Two Democratic Senators have introduced legislation that would mandate prompt payment for doctors and hospitals, as well as pharmacies. More prompt-pay bills are expected as Congress responds to the Part D cash crisis.

Mississippi mandates PBM prompt pay

Mississippi's pharmacy practice act has been amended to mandate that PBMs must pay clean electronic pharmacy claims within 15 days. The revision also requires PBMs to file financial statements with the state insurance department, use a nationally recognized reference in pricing calculations when paying pharmacies, and update the pricing reference at least every three days. The board of pharmacy will monitor PBMs for compliance with the law.

JCAHO issues alert on tubing errors

Errors related to tubing and catheter misconnection remain a life-threatening, underreported problem in healthcare organizations. JCAHO issued a sentinel event alert urging such organizations to pay close attention to how tubes and catheters are connected to patients. The commission also issued a challenge to manufacturers of these devices to redesign them in ways that will make dangerous misconnections less likely to occur. To date, nine cases involving tubing misconnections-resulting in eight deaths and one permanent loss of function in a patient-have been reported to JCAHO's sentinel event database. In an effort to reduce the risk of errors, JCAHO issued several recommendations, including: avoiding purchasing non-IV equipment with tubing connectors that permit connection with IV connectors and emphasizing the risk of tubing misconnections in clinician orientation and training programs.

Transdermal ADHD drug gets FDA nod

A new form of delivery for methylphenidate has been approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Daytrana, from Shire, is a transdermal system that will deliver a 10-, 15-, 20-, or 30-mg dose of methylphenidate daily, once applied to clean, dry skin. In clinical trials, the patch provided 12 hours of effect when worn for nine hours in children aged six to 12 years old. According to Shire, one advantage of the new product is that physicians can alter the duration of its effect and minimize potential side effects by simply having the patient remove the patch prior to the recommended nine-hour wear time. Daytrana will be available in pharmacies in mid-2006.