NACDS, 31 others send letter to Congress supporting health I.T.

6/2/2008

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores today joined the Divided We Fail healthcare reform union with such members as AARP, the American Health Care Association and the American Medical Women’s Association, in sending a letter to Congressional leadership to urge action on health information technology and e-prescribing legislation.

“This letter reflects two important strategic priorities of NACDS: advancing our healthcare reform principles and working creatively through new and existing partnerships to indicate pharmacy’s role in the healthcare delivery system and in the healthcare reform debate,” said NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson.

The letter states that “the reasons to support health I.T. are many.” The letter then explained the reasons why the switch to I.T. would make sense for the country. Included in the reasons was the prevention of deaths associated with mistakes by improving safety and the saving of billions of dollars in paper that would be eliminated with an electronic system. The companies noted that personal health records, which are easier for doctors and patients to keep track of, would also be greatly benefit from I.T. legislation.

The letter, signed by a total of 32 diverse organizations, was distributed to Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House of Representatives’ minority leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

“An important element of advancing HIT and e-prescribing legislation is preventing the inclusion of harmful amendments that could undermine their progress,” Anderson continued. “For example, in the name of privacy protection, one proposal would prevent the valuable practice of pharmacies’ sending refill reminders to patients. The point should be to increase, not decrease, adherence to medication therapy, and there are other more effective and vital ways to foster patient privacy through a secure and responsible approach to HIT.”

NACDS plans to submit a statement on Wednesday to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on this important point, in conjunction with a scheduled committee hearing on the topic of HIT legislation and privacy.

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