Insurance rollout shows pharmacies and NACDS in action
One of the principles of association leadership says that an association should reflect the membership. Hopefully, NACDS’ approach to member service has resembled the can-do spirit of community pharmacy during the launch of exchange-based insurance.
We hope you found helpful the series of email updates that NACDS distributed from December 20 through January 2. These memoranda summarized extensive work to help smooth the transition – a transition that will continue into the weeks and months ahead.
NACDS’ updates described frequent meetings and conference calls we had throughout the holidays with representatives of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the White House, where a two-way dialogue was established to better serve our members. During those meetings – as well as in official comments – NACDS urged consumer communications to encourage the newly ensured to take certain steps to limit confusion when they visited a pharmacy or other provider for the first time. NACDS also urged the accessibility of call centers and of plan representatives during the transition, and made the case for additional steps to improve operational efficiency. We were able to share with you consumer fact sheets and resources for pharmacists, which were made available by the agencies in response to requests by NACDS and others.
In addition, as the media prepared to cover the January 1 launch date, NACDS worked with reporters to help them understand the issues associated with the transition.
As was the case during the first days of the exchange-based insurance launch, NACDS hopes you will share insights about systemic problems that may arise with the adjudication of claims. Chris Smith , NACDS’ director of federal public policy, is serving as the point of contact for this information.
From the beginning of enrollment under the Affordable Care Act to the recent launch of coverage, NACDS has emphasized that the amazing work of community pharmacies is shining through again – just as it has numerous times before, such as the rollout of Medicare Part D, the response to H1N1, a consistent and concerted national vaccination campaign, and the providing of necessary goods and services during natural disasters, to name a few. It is important that the decision makers in Washington and in the states understand the vital role of community pharmacies in fostering public health, and understand the importance of empowering and sustaining that role in crunch time and in times of “normalcy.”
Community pharmacies ARE the face of neighborhood healthcare, and NACDS is committed to living up to the trust and to the value of your company and of this entire industry.
Steve Anderson is the president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.
CARE Pharmacies partners with Pharmacy Quality Solutions on improving patient care and clinical outcomes
LINTHICUM, Md. — CARE Pharmacies earlier this week announced that it has implemented Pharmacy Quality Solutions’ EQuIPP software to benchmark and identify areas for improvement in each of its locations aimed at improving patient care and clinical outcomes.
“As independent pharmacies, our uniqueness lies in our ability to drive better quality of service and better patient outcomes,” stated Michael Wysong, CEO of CARE Pharmacies. “Now we can actually measure that quality," he said. “As more performance networks evolve and payor models continue to shift from fee for service to fee for value, it is imperative that our members have the tools to stay competitive and to retain access to the patients that value the programs and services that they provide."
“We are pleased to be collaborating with the innovators at CARE Pharmacies,” said David Nau, president of Pharmacy Quality Solutions. “It is clear that the leadership of CARE has a strong commitment to excellence and will ensure that members have access to the tools necessary to thrive in an outcomes-driven environment.”
FDA approves liquid form of Merck HIV drug Isentress for infants, small children
WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — The Food and Drug Administraiton has approved a liquid formulation of an HIV drug made by Merck, the company said.
Merck announced the approval of Isentress (raltegravir) for oral suspension, aimed at small children with HIV. The drug may be used by patients as young as four weeks, and the full line of formulations of Isentress now includes the orlal suspension, as well as chewable tablets and film–coated tablets. The company plans to launch the oral suspension in the third quarter of this year.
"We are very pleased that Isentress can now be a part of a treatment regimen for HIV-1-infected infants and children as young as 4 weeks of age," Merck Research Labs executive director for clinical research Hedy Teppler said.