NACDS emphasized its commitment to working with Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other healthcare providers to advance the delivery of affordable, accessible healthcare services in statements submitted this week to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee. The Committees are holding hearings today on HHS’ Fiscal Year 2018 Budget.

In its statements, NACDS urged lawmakers to support legislation—H. R. 592/S. 109, the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act—which would allow pharmacists to provide services to underserved Medicare Part B beneficiaries, subject to state scope of practices laws. The statement noted that the legislation would be key in lowering healthcare costs, improving patient access and increasing healthcare quality—all vital components of an effective Medicare program.

NACDS put into perspective the positive aspects of medication adherence, citing public and private studies showing the health benefits and effectiveness of medication therapy management (MTM) services, including a report by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which found that Medicare Part D MTM programs consistently improved medication adherence for patients with chronic conditions, leading to savings of nearly $400 to $525 in lower overall hospitalization costs.

With respect to DIR fees, NACDS outlined the essential role pharmacy plays in integrating these beneficial services to patients and emphasized its commitment to advancing innovations to improve the Part D MTM program. NACDS stated that in order to ensure the success of the Enhanced MTM Model pilot being run by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, “retail pharmacies must be included in the Enhanced Model Pilot programs.”

NACDS stated that it supports transparency in the use of fees in the Part D program, and urged Congress to advise CMS on the importance of issuing guidance to improve consistency in disclosures to pharmacies on how fees are defined, calculated, collected and reported on, in order to increase transparency in the Medicare program.

Focusing on a shared goal of reducing the cost of prescription drugs, NACDS referenced a March 2017 survey of registered voters by Morning Consult, commissioned by NACDS, that found 80 percent of respondents believe that pharmacists are credible sources of information about how to save money on prescription drugs—the highest rating of healthcare professionals tested. NACDS provided several recommendations for lowering drug costs, including the utilization of generic drugs and support for policies to increase the use of more cost-effective biosimilar medications.

NACDS concluded by thanking the Committees for their consideration and emphasizing an ongoing shared commitment to improving healthcare delivery.