Pharmacists in Medicare ACOs

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) followed up on his interest in introducing an amendment to the “doc-fix” bill that would recognize pharmacists as providers in accountable care organizations (ACOs) with the shown below. I think I can speak for all Twlug members in expressing our gratitude to Sen. Grassley and his great staff for their continued support. We look forward to working with his office, his colleagues in the Senate, and numerous pharmacy organizations on this important initiative to give America’s consumers access to pharmacists’ quality patient care services.

Grassley Hopes to Include Pharmacists in Accountable Care Organizations

WASHINGTONSen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said today he will look for opportunities to advance his proposal to include pharmacists in Medicare’s program encouraging providers to give coordinated, high quality care to their Medicare patients.

“Pharmacists can play a critical role in coordinated health care,” Grassley said. “As Medicare moves toward payment policies that reward integrated care, we should recognize the role pharmacists play in encouraging adherence with doctors’ drug prescriptions.”

Grassley filed an amendment to the physician payments bill considered in the Finance Committee last week that would include pharmacists in Medicare programs encouraging Accountable Care Organizations. These are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers who come together voluntarily to give coordinated, high quality care to their Medicare patients. The coordinated care is meant to achieve the right care, especially for chronically ill patients, while avoiding wasteful duplication and preventing medical errors.

The organizations share in the savings they achieve for the Medicare program when they succeed in delivering high-quality care while avoiding wasteful duplication and spending. Medicare currently does not promote pharmacists’ participation in Accountable Care Organizations, even though pharmacists play a significant role in overseeing patients’ prescription adherence.

Grassley said he will look for legislative opportunities to advance this proposal in the coming months. He also co-sponsored an amendment offered by Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware encouraging the development of quality metrics related to medication adherence.