Access to care provision part of CMS’ Medicaid managed care final rule
ARLINGTON, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores on Wednesday praised the Center for Medicare & Medicaid’s inclusion of network adequacy standards — which would improve patient access to care in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program — in the Medicaid and CHIP Managed Care final rule the agency released on April 21.
“CMS’ decision to include a provision that ensures patients have access to pharmacy services is consistent with NACDS’ position on ensuring patients have continued access to care, which leads to better overall health outcomes and reduced costs,” stated Steven Anderson, NACDS president and CEO. “NACDS remains committed to working with CMS as it strives to advance and improve the healthcare system.”
The final rule marks the first major overhaul of the Medicaid and CHIP programs in more than a decade, and seeks to align key rules with other healthcare coverage programs. In order to strengthen access to care, the final rule requires states to establish network adequacy standards in Medicaid and CHIP managed care for key providers — including pharmacy — if their services are covered under the Medicaid contract, and the pharmacy network is consistent with the access standards for delivery networks.
NACDS has consistently advocated for network adequacy standards that promote access based on patients’ needs, availability of care and providers and utilization of services. In response to a request from CMS, NACDS submitted comments in 2015 recommending that “the final rule should include a framework that will serve as a tool to ensure that plans maintain beneficiary access to their current providers.”
In addition to establishing a framework, NACDS said it hoped to help CMS “create standards that will serve to maintain the strong link between Medicaid patients and community pharmacies and the valuable services that these pharmacies provide.”
Of note, the effective date of the rule is July 6, 2016, however the section specific to access to care is effective July 1, 2018. The final rule indicates that plans will not be held out of compliance with this requirement until July 1, 2018.
Cardinal Health posts 22% increase in Q3 revenue to $30.7 billion
DUBLIN, Ohio – Cardinal Health on Thursday reported a 21% increase in revenue to $30.7 billion for its third quarter for the fiscal year 2016.
"We had a strong financial and operational performance in our fiscal third quarter. At the same time, we continued to enhance and grow enterprise-wide service and product lines, which are important to our customers and address some of health care's most difficult challenges," stated George Barrett, chairman and CEO Cardinal Health. "We delivered double-digit growth in revenue and profit in both our Pharmaceutical and Medical reporting segments and had very solid performance across our lines of business."
Third-quarter revenue for the Pharmaceutical segment increased 22% to $27.5 billion due to growth from new and existing customers as well as acquisitions. Third-quarter revenue for the Medical segment increased 13% to $3.1 billion due to the net contribution from acquisitions as well as solid growth from existing businesses.
CVS Pharmacy offers nonprescription naloxone to New Hampshire residents
WOONSOCKET, R.I. – CVS Health announced Thursday it has made the opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone available without a prescription at all CVS Pharmacy locations in New Hampshire. CVS Health has established a standing order with physicians in New Hampshire that allows CVS Pharmacy to expand access to the medication in the Granite State.
"Naloxone is a safe and effective antidote to opioid overdoses and by expanding access to this medication in our New Hampshire pharmacies by the use of a physician's standing order for patients without a prescription, we can help save lives," stated Tom Davis,VP pharmacy professional practices at CVS Pharmacy. "We support expanding naloxone availability to give more people a chance to get the help they need for recovery and we applaud the State of New Hampshire for its leadership in the fight against drug abuse and addiction."
"The opioid epidemic has touched so many families in New Hampshire and across the U.S. and expanding access to naloxone is one important step in our efforts to address it," commented Marcia Lee Taylor, president and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. "We applaud CVS Health for increasing access to this life-saving drug for patients without a prescription at CVS Pharmacy locations in New Hampshire and in many other states across the country."
CVS Health has also launched digital resources on www.cvs.com/content/prescription-drug-abuse giving patients and families a single destination to learn more about drug abuse prevention. These new resources build on CVS Health's commitment to helping communities address and prevent drug abuse. In 2015, CVS Health launched a community outreach program called Pharmacists Teach, which brings local pharmacists to high school health classes to talk to students about the dangers of drug abuse. More than 60,000 students have already taken part in the program.
CVS Health has also joined with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to create the Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program, which donates disposal units to local police departments, providing a safe and environmentally friendly way to dispose of unwanted medication. The program has already donated twelve units to police departments in the state and collected more than 1,665 pounds of unwanted medications in New Hampshire.
In addition to New Hampshire, CVS Pharmacy locations in 22 other states can now dispense naloxone to patients without an individual prescription.
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