NACDS underscored the importance of integrating pharmacy into healthcare solutions in comments to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this week. The comments were in response to HHS’ request for information on solutions that would provide high-quality care at affordable prices for Americans.

In its comments, NACDS stated that the rapidly changing healthcare system necessitates better solutions for providing patient access to care. Among many recommendations, NACDS pointed out that pharmacists can play an effective role in the delivery of a broad range of services, including medication therapy management and other expanded services. NACDS encouraged recognition of pharmacists as providers under Medicare Part B and asked HHS to support bipartisan legislation—the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act—which will allow Medicare Part B to utilize pharmacists to their full capability, and would reduce overall healthcare costs, increase access to healthcare services, and improve healthcare quality.

NACDS noted that as the population continues to age, there will likely be an increase in chronic conditions, which will need treatment with specialty drugs. NACDS urged HHS to develop appropriate policies for reimbursement of specialty drugs in federal programs, which will help increase patient choice and access to care. NACDS outlined the role pharmacy could play in the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation’s ongoing Enhanced Medication Therapy Management (MTM) Model pilot, and encouraged HHS to include pharmacists in the model program to improve medication adherence and patient outcomes.

All of the recommendations—which also included needed reforms to direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees; expanded use of pharmacists in the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program; and increasing the use of pharmacy into telehealth services—served to promote and advance the capabilities pharmacy has to offer and show ways pharmacy is a part of the solution in providing patients with more options and comprehensive care.