LTC Pharmacy News
September 2016
Long Term Care Pharmacy, like the rest of the healthcare industry, experiences constant change, from new legislation to changes in existing regulation, it's hard to keep up. Make your life a little easier by keeping in touch through LTCPharmacynews.com
LTC Pharmacy News: The Change Begins
This issue unveils a new site: LTCPharmacyNews.com
This will be the primary news site for all things related to Long Term Care Pharmacy. The original site LTCPharmacy.net is undergoing extensive renovation and will eventually convert to a paid site featuring more in-depth content, training modules, video interviews and analysis for those looking for more support in the challenge of success in this unique area of pharmacy practice. See more details in the blog.
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CMS Announces Premiums and Plans for Part D and MAPD Plans for 2017
On September 22, CMS announced the premiums and plan landscapes for calendar year 2017. The agency notes that premiums for MAPD Plans will decrease by $1.19 and PDP premiums will remain stable at approximately $34 per month. 

Medicare Part D open enrollment begins October 15th. For more information about open enrollment and state-by-state fact sheets see here.

For more information on the premiums and costs of 2017 Medicare health and drug plans, please visit here.

For a fact sheet on Medicare Advantage and Part D, please visit here


CMS releases new prescription drug cost data
The 2014 data set contains information from over one million distinct health care providers who collectively prescribed approximately $121 billion in prescription drugs paid for under the Medicare Part D program. This represents a 17 percent increase compared to the 2013 data set.
CMS Requests Info on State Health Innovation
CMS  has requested information on Next Steps for the State Innovation Models Initiative. This is CMS' effort to obtain input in the following areas:
  • Partnering with states to implement delivery and payment models across multiple payers in a state that could qualify as Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) or Advanced Other Payer APMs under the proposed QPP, making it easier for eligible clinicians in a state to become qualifying APM participants and earn the APM incentive;
  • Implementing financial accountability for health outcomes for an entire state's population;
  • Assessing the impact of specific care interventions across multiple states; and
  • Facilitating alignment of state and federal payment and service delivery reform efforts, and streamlining interactions between the Federal government and states.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Updates
Blog PostAHRQ’s Unique Role in Developing Surveys to Measure Patients’ Experience With Their Health Care

National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports:  Chartbook on Effective Treatment.

Slides and transcript are now available from the July 21 National Quality Strategy Webinar


Report on CMS Bundled Payment Initiative
The Lewin Group, under commission from CMS, released its report on the results of the CMS bundled payments initiative for models 2-4. Some of the results were encouraging, others less so. The models which include nursing homes (models 3 and 4) noted decreases in expenditures (model 3) or no change (model 4).

See story in Healthcare Dive
House Hearing on Healthcare Efficiency
The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on September 14th on the important topic of using technology to cut waste and improve efficiency in healthcare.

Witnesses included Michael Gallup, President of TeleTracking Technologies, who described the success his group has had in improving patient flow and improving access in the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.

Jared Short, COO of Cambia Health Solutions discussed the progress his company has made in improving price and quality transparency in the healthcare system.

Paul Black, CEO of Allscripts, covered the progress being made in healthcare information technology.

Greg Long, Chief Medical Officer of ThedaCare, a community-owned health system in Wisconsin reviewed how the system has leveraged technology to achieve success in its ACO.
Federal Agency News
Go to the LTC Pharmacy website for regular updates on what's coming from CMS, including proposed and final rules, new programs, news from Medicare and Medicaid and updated Medicare Learning resources. Go there now.

The FDA often updates its website with drug safety information, news about drug approvals and implementation information on laws, such as the Drug Quality and Security Act. Keep checking our site for the latest news from FDA.

THE HHS Office of Inspector General publishes audit reports and results of investigations on federal health programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid. Congress frequently looks at these reports when deciding where to focus on oversight and legislation. Keep in touch here.

The Government Accountability Office is the official investigative arm of Congress and publishes important reports that often guide the national conversation. We keep track of announcements coming out of GAO, so you don't have to. All you need to do is click here.

News Items of Interest
NABP Updates Model Act
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has released an updated Model State Pharmacy Act and Model Rules of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. The update includes changes that reflect changes in federal law, including the Drug Quality and Security Act. The Model Act is intended to assist state boards of pharmacy in drafting regulations concerning the practice of pharmacy.

Elderly Hospital Patients Arrive Sick, Often Leave Disabled
The Kaiser Health News reports on the often debilitating effects a hospital stay can have on a senior.

Altarum Institute:  Unintended Consequences
Dr. Michael Wasserman, geriatrician, reflects on the mandate to meet metrics and how it impacts the incentives for physicians to care for their patients. His observations do not encourage optimism.

Aging: It's Not all about Health
McKnight's Editorial Director John O'Connor examines the coming plight of senior living executives. It's not declining health that's cause for alarm; it's the health of senior finances. Saving rates are abysmal and will certainly not be able to cover the cost of the the golden years.

It’s Not Just For Kids: Medicare EpiPen Spending Up 1,100 Percent
The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that even as the cost of EpiPens dramatically rose, so too did the number of prescriptions written for patients in Medicare, sending spending by the program skyrocketing nearly 1,100 percent from 2007 to 2014, a new report shows.

During the same period, the total number of Medicare beneficiaries using EpiPens climbed 164 percent, from nearly 80,000 users in 2007 to more than 211,000 in 2014, according to the analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. While the report does not delve into what’s behind the increase, factors could include increased awareness among people with allergies, marketing efforts and access to insurance coverage. See Kaiser Health news article

Technology is Aiding the Aging in Place Movement
McKnight's reports on the AARP-sponsored Longevity Economy, which explains how industry is becoming more invested in creating technology that helps keep seniors out of nursing facilities and in the home. Progress in this area includes remote monitoring devices and the Internet of Things (in which appliances and systems are controlled via wifi connection). The report notes that seniors who manage to avoid institutional settings have significantly more resources than those who live in nursing facilities.

Ohio Pharmacies Offer Free Drug Consultations to Seniors
Cleveland.com reports on an initiative by the Ohio Department of Aging and includes seven Cleveland-area pharmacies and 29 other pharmacies across the state to review medications taken by seniors and counsel them on how these medications may interact.

Web Event: Rx Drugs and the U.S. Health System – A Conversation about Election-Cycle Proposals for Lowering Costs
This election cycle, policymakers and politicians are weighing in with ideas for lowering drug costs, from permitting Medicare to negotiate prices to allowing consumers to import medicines from other countries. Some states are considering their own actions, including California, which has a ballot measure that would prohibit state agencies from paying prices for prescription drugs that are higher than what the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs pays.

On Wednesday, October 5, from noon to 1 p.m. ET, the Kaiser Family Foundation will host a web conversation to discuss proposals for controlling prescription drug costs, examine pros and cons of the ideas, and assess the likelihood that the plans will be enacted.

Larry Levitt, senior vice president for special initiatives and co-executive director of the Foundation’s Program for the Study of Health Reform and Private Insurance, will moderate the discussion.

Panelists Include:
• Gerard Anderson, professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
• Jennifer Bryant, senior vice president of policy and research, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
• Dana Goldman, Leonard D. Schaeffer Chair and Director of the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics

Rx Drugs and the U.S. Health System is a series of web panel discussions hosted by the Kaiser Family Foundation exploring prescription drug costs and spending in the U.S. health system.Register here


Walgreens Offers Teledermatology: The retail drug giant announced that it will offer its customers a platform to provide detailed information on dermatologic conditions and access to dermatologists. The effort is a collaboration between Walgreens and Iagnosis, a specialist in telemedicine, and will connect patients to online dermatologist scheduling and consultation.

Most Seniors Blood Pressure Not Controlled
Reported in Pharmacy Practice News, The CDC and CMS have collaborated on a report revealing that 70 percent of Americans over the age of 65 have hypertension, but only half have their blood pressure under control. The report stresses the important role of the pharmacist in helping seniors maintain a healthy blood pressure through compliance with prescribed medication.

Telemedicine Use on the Rise in Long Term Care
Health Data Management (free registration required) reports on the increasing use of telemedicine in nursing home settings. The story focuses on rural areas where access to physicians can be difficult. The use of telehealth puts a physician at the bedside and may often prevent an unnecessary readmission to the hospital.

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