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The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has announced its support for a Senate bill for coverage that would include more patients who qualify for medication therapy management (MTM) programs.
The bipartisan legislation, S. 557, the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act, was introduced March 13 by Senator Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and is cosponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.). Similar legislation was recently introduced in the House by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.).
S. 557 would increase the number of Medicare Part D beneficiaries who qualify for one-on-one counseling sessions with a licensed pharmacist to include those who have a chronic medical condition, such as diabetes or hypertension. Currently, only Medicare patients who have specific multiple chronic conditions are eligible for the counseling sessions.
“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."
Approximately 1.5 million preventable adverse drug effects occur every year as a result of medication errors, NCPA said in a prepared statement. MTM programs can greatly improve patient safety.
“Medication therapy management programs can reduce serious health risks among patients and save lives while at the same time helping to lower healthcare costs,” Hoey said. “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.”