NACDS, NCPA asks CMMI for expanded role for pharmacists



The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and the National Community Pharmacy Association (NCPA) are calling for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) to use its authority to expand the role of pharmacists in new accountable care organization models, community-based transitions of care, and bundled payment initiatives, according to a press statement.

Last week, both pharmacy organizations sent a letter to Richard J. Gilfillan, MD, director of CMMI (Innovation Center), explaining that under the current Medicare law, pharmacists are not recognized as providers, which could limit their participation in the new healthcare models.

“Because pharmacists have the proven ability to provide services which lead to better clinical outcomes and lower healthcare costs, we urge the Innovation Center to use its authority to find mechanisms for pharmacists to participate in these programs, such as granting pharmacists provider status for the purpose of participating in Innovation Center projects,” the letter stated. “Without this action, pharmacists may be unable to provide and bill for their services and are therefore not being utilized by participants to the maximum extent possible.”

Pharmacist-delivered services that could help reduce healthcare costs and improve patient outcomes include face-to-face medication therapy management counseling and medication reconciliation as well as immunization services. Pharmacists being able to practice at the top of their licenses will be able to have an impact on medication adherence and coordination between healthcare settings, which is particularly important as new patients move into the system in 2014 through healthcare exchanges and the expansion of Medicaid, they noted.

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