Arlington, Va. – In lead-up to today’s Senate Finance Committee hearing, “A Pathway to Improving Care for Medicare Patients with Chronic Conditions,” the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) submitted comments highlighting pharmacy’s role in helping patients manage their chronic conditions.
Through personal interactions with patients, face-to-face consultations, and convenient access to preventive care services, local pharmacists are helping to shape the healthcare delivery system of tomorrow—in partnership with doctors, nurses, and others.
In its comments, NACDS emphasized the role of community pharmacies and pharmacists in providing access to prescription medications and over-the-counter products, as well as cost-effective health services such as immunizations and disease screenings.
“Access to these types of services is especially vital for Medicare beneficiaries as nearly two-thirds are suffering from multiple chronic conditions. Through personal interactions with patients, face-to-face consultations, and convenient access to preventive care services, local pharmacists are helping to shape the healthcare delivery system of tomorrow—in partnership with doctors, nurses, and others,” NACDS wrote.
NACDS cited pharmacist-provided medication therapy management (MTM) in improving medication adherence, which also helps lower overall healthcare costs. In addition, NACDS emphasized the accessibility of retail pharmacies for patients who are medically underserved, including seniors, and may have chronic conditions, urging support for legislation (S. 314 and H.R. 471) that would help ensure access to requisite healthcare services for these vulnerable populations.
“The ‘Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act’ would allow Medicare Part B to utilize pharmacists to their full capability by providing those underserved beneficiaries with services not currently reaching them (subject to state scope of practice laws),” NACDS wrote in its comments.
NACDS further emphasized that this legislation would lead not only to a reduction in overall healthcare costs, but also to increased access to healthcare services and improved healthcare quality for underserved patients, and especially for patients with chronic conditions.
“We look forward to working with policymakers and stakeholders on looking to find ways to improve care for Medicare patients with chronic conditions,” NACDS said.