Magazine article Drug Topics

All or Nothing

Magazine article Drug Topics

All or Nothing

Article excerpt

A Medicare bill that pays for drugs only is not acceptable, APhA tells Drug Topics in an exclusive interview

New Medicare legislation covering Rx drugs may be far from imminent, but the American Pharmaceutical Association is going on record now as opposing any bill for the elderly that does not compensate for pharmacy services.

"If a Medicare bill comes out and just pays for drugs, we're not going to support it," said APhA executive v.p. John Gans. The profession can no longer be denied compensation for managing or overseeing drug therapy, he told Drug Topics in an exclusive interview that also included outgoing and incoming APhA presidents Ronald Jordan and J. Lyle Bootman.

What APhA is pressing for is a case-management role for pharmacists in the care of the elderly. "We want to increase the number of demonstration projects that are reimbursed by the government," Gans declared. There's "a large challenge out there to keep [elderly patients] living at home," he said.

The demonstration projects APhA wants may or may not be tied to specific disease states. Right now, the trend is toward drug therapy management for people with specific diseases, but "we have to look at everything to see where we can have the greatest impact," Gans continued. Take a disease like diabetes, for example. In the case of elderly patients, he explained, it often leads to many complications, so the R.Ph. might be better off focusing on the total patient rather than on the specific disease.

This fits into APhA's long-standing pursuit of a generalist credential for pharmacists. Gans now believes a pharmacist may someday qualify for this credential by taking a modified version of the current pharmacotherapist credentialing exam offered by the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties. Gans said BPS is moving that specialty from a hospital model to a more ambulatory care focus. With some changes, he noted, this pharmacotherapist exam might also serve the needs of the primary care pharmacist in community settings.

Among other points raised during the interview: APhA is committed to two major projects: spreading collaborative care to obtain optimal patient outcomes and making the distribution process more efficient.

APhA plans to build on the success of its Project Impact on hyperlipidemia to launch collaborative programs in asthma care and anticoagulation.

APhA is taking a new look at unitof-use packaging, which can be barcoded, as a way of improving the distribution system. …

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