Pharmacy advocates have endorsed House and Senate bills to expand medication therapy management (MTM) services for seniors.

medication therapy management, MTM, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, NACDS, National Community Pharmacists Association, NCPA, Kay Hagan, Pat Roberts, Steve Anderson, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Ron Kind, Lee Terry, Bruce Braley, B. Douglas Hoey, pharmacists, Medicare Part D, chronic conditions, Kerr Drug, Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, MTM services

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MTM legislation earns NACDS, NCPA endorsement

April 8th, 2013

WASHINGTON – Pharmacy advocates have endorsed House and Senate bills to expand medication therapy management (MTM) services for seniors.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) have applauded the bipartisan legislation to boost medication compliance.

NACDS and NCPA commended Sens. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.) and Pat Roberts (R., Kan.) for spearheading the Senate bill, as well as original cosponsors Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio), Al Franken (D., Minn.), Tim Johnson (D., S.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.).

“This bill can help patients understand the importance of taking their medications as prescribed,” said NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson. “Innovative pharmacy services such as MTM help to improve patient health and health care affordability, especially for those suffering from chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma and other conditions.”

The associations also praised similar legislation introduced in the House by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.), Ron Kind (D., Wis.), Lee Terry (R., Neb.) and Bruce Braley (D., Iowa).

“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 chief executive officer Douglas Hoey.

The bills would increase the number of Medicare Part D beneficiaries who qualify for one-on-one counseling sessions with a licensed pharmacist to any patient with a chronic medical condition. Currently only those patients suffering from specific multiple chronic conditions are eligible.

Research indicates that the cost savings from MTM can be significant. One Minnesota study found a 12-to-1 return on investment for MTM. In North Carolina, Kerr Drug reports that MTM programs helping seniors there produced a 13-to-1 return.

“Medication therapy management is the type of commonsense, fiscally responsible program that should be expanded to benefit more seniors,” said Sen. Hagan. “In North Carolina this program has saved tens of millions of dollars but, more importantly, it has helped keep seniors healthy.

“I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to expand this program to more seniors so that we can keep improving health outcomes without increasing health costs.”

Sen. Roberts remarked: “We have recognized the value of pharmacists in the health system for many years. They are especially valuable for our Kansas communities, and can sometimes be the only health provider in our rural towns. MTM is an important tool in the pharmacist’s toolbox for many patients but can be critical for those suffering from chronic conditions.

Congress created the MTM benefit under the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 for Medicare beneficiaries by requiring MTM services for patients on multiple medications who suffer from chronic conditions or diseases.

The New England Healthcare Institute, a health policy research group, notes that only half the number of patients take their medications properly as prescribed by their doctor, which costs the nation more than $290 billion annually in avoidable health spending.

With the increased focus on patient-centered pharmacy education and a growing recognition of pharmacists’ medication expertise, MTM has been advanced substantially.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently reported that in comparison to Medicare beneficiaries with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or congestive heart failure who did not receive any MTM services in 2010, those who were enrolled in MTM programs ­— particularly those who received annual comprehensive medication reviews — experienced significant improvements in the quality of their drug regimens, and costs were saved.

Last November the Congressional Budget Office released a report showing that a 1% increase in overall prescription drug utilization nationwide would trim the country’s health care costs by $1.7 billion, or a savings of $5.76 for every person in the United States.