NCPA plans long-term community care network

March 21, 2005

Gauging that the time is right to help independent pharmacies get into the long-term care marketplace, the National Community Pharmacists Association plans to build a network of practitioners trained to deliver pharmacist services to seniors.

Gauging that the time is right to help independent pharmacies get into the long-term care marketplace, the National Community Pharmacists Association plans to build a network of practitioners trained to deliver pharmacist services to seniors.

The goal of NCPA's Long Term Community Care initiative is to create a nationwide network of community pharmacies to give the elderly expanded access to pharmacist services. At the heart of the project will be a comprehensive education program developed by NCPA's National Institute for Pharmacist Care Outcomes (NIPCO), featuring clinical and business components to give independents the knowledge and skills they need to provide services to older patients in their communities. The plan targets healthy and homebound seniors, as well as community-based elderly in assisted-living facilities, continuing care retirement centers, and skilled-nursing facilities.

The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) is collaborating with NCPA to develop the program to meet the clinical needs of geriatric patients. NCPA will promote several ASCP programs, including the Certified Geriatric Credential, patient education resources, and pharmacy tools. NCPA has also partnered with GeriMed, a group service organization for closed-door pharmacies, and the consulting firm Long Term Care Solutions. Financial support is coming from RxSystems Inc., a provider of pharmacy packaging and supplies, and from RNA Health Information Systems, a software developer.

NCPA's foray into long-term care to strengthen geriatric care drew applause from ASCP's executive director-CEO John Feather, Ph.D. "Most older persons both live and receive their medications in the community, and so community pharmacies are a vital part of serving the needs of seniors wherever they reside," he said.

The long-term care program will probably indirectly tie in to NCPA's plans to position its nonprofit Community Care Rx as a drug plan sponsor in the Medicare prescription drug benefit, Roberts told Drug Topics. "It won't be a direct tie, but our CCRx Medicare prescription drug plan will very much focus on the long-term care marketplace, so in that respect we will definitely tie the two together, but not formally."

The Long Term Community Care offering will be officially kicked off in October at NCPA's annual convention in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.