PHARMACY

PAPCC ads highlight pharmacists’ role as senior healthcare providers

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — The Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition, a group of more than 25 organizations representing patients, has released newspaper and radio advertisements calling for passage of the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act.

In late January, the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act was introduced in both the U.S. House (H.R. 592) and Senate (S. 314), a critical first step in achieving provider status at the federal level.

If passed, the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act would enable Medicare patients living in Medically Underserved communities to access important services that pharmacists can provide, including medication management, chronic disease management and preventative screenings.

PAPCC announced the initiative earlier this year, stating that it would run print and digital advertising in beltway media outlets over the course of the Congressional calendar.

“While the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (S. 314/H.R. 592) enjoys strong and growing bipartisan and bicameral support, we are expanding our efforts to promote the role that pharmacists can play in providing healthcare services to seniors,” stated Vince Ventimiglia, president of Leavitt Partners Collaborative Advocates and advisor to PAPCC, in announcing the initiative earlier this year. “Members of Congress and their staff know the benefit of having pharmacists as part of the healthcare team. Through this initiative, we intend to raise awareness about how pharmacists can help seniors in areas of the country where access to care can be challenging.”

 

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National health spending up 6.2%

BY Michael Johnsen

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — National health spending in April 2015 was 6.2% higher than in April 2014. At $3.2 trillion, health spending now represents 18.2% of gross domestic product, a new all-time high, according to data come from the monthly Health Sector Economic Indicators briefs released by Altarum Institute’s Center for Sustainable Health Spending. 
 
“The 6.2% health spending growth rate for April is about the same as that for the fourth quarter of 2014 but is well below what we expect to show for the first quarter of 2015 in our next Trend Report due out later this month,” stated Charles Roehrig, director of the Center. “This report will reflect results from the just-released Quarterly Services Survey, which shows 7.3% growth in spending on health care services in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the first quarter of 2014. We expect the first quarter growth rate to represent a peak, and that spending growth will moderate as 2015 continues to unfold.”
 
Prescription drug spending grew the fastest, by 10.5%, but is showing signs of moderation. Hospital spending grew at a rapid 8.5%, presumably driven by increased utilization and less uncompensated care, as prices have been stagnant.
 
Health care prices in April 2015 were 1.2% higher than in April 2014, only two-tenths higher than the decade-plus low of 1% growth registered in August 2013. Hospital prices rose by a low 0.5%, while physician and clinical services prices plunged by 1.1%, reflecting the end of enhanced Medicaid primary care payments. Prescription drug prices rose 5.6%, down from March but still near the 13-year high of 6.4% reached in December 2014.
 
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ACAP names Diplomat Pharmacy preferred specialty pharmacy vendor

BY Michael Johnsen

FLINT, Mich. — Diplomat Pharmacy announced Friday that it has been designated a Preferred Specialty Pharmacy Vendor from the Association for Community Affiliated Plans.   
 
ACAP is a national trade association representing 59 not-for-profit Safety Net Health Plans in 24 states. Collectively, ACAP plans serve 13 million people through Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP and other public programs.
 
In the ACAP Preferred Vendor Program, pre-qualified organizations are granted access to specific areas of interest for ACAP plans and their members. Each vendor must be approved by the ACAP board.
 
“Our focus on education, adherence efforts and helping manage costs of our patients make Diplomat an ideal fit for ACAP's plans and the individuals they serve,” stated Atheer Kaddis, SVP sales and business development at Diplomat. 
 
As a Preferred Vendor in the area of specialty pharmacy services, Diplomat offers its expertise to help meet the needs of ACAP plans as they strive to improve the health and well-being of lower-income and vulnerable populations.
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