For pharmacy patient care, reports reflect real life


NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE

A new report by the National Governors Association (NGA) is symbolic of the growing recognition of pharmacy’s vital role in healthcare delivery. The report also makes several key points about what it will take to leverage pharmacy’s value for the benefit of patients across the nation.

“The Expanding Role of Pharmacists in a Transformed Health Care System” — which NGA released in January — does a really nice job of describing the extensive and evolving professional education of pharmacists. It notes that “health care experts increasingly agree that including pharmacists on chronic care delivery teams can improve care and reduce the costs of treating chronic illnesses.”

Directly related to the discussions that will take place during the 2015 NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill, the NGA report emphasized the importance of consistent government policies regarding pharmacy patient care; the need to formally recognize pharmacists as providers, as appropriate; and opportunities to leverage technology to foster collaboration between physicians, pharmacists and other members of a patient’s health team.

The observations of the NGA report build on a steady stream of recognition and recommendations that focus on the powerful role that pharmacy plays in improving and saving lives. The Congressional Budget Office has formally stated that better use of medications can generate cost savings by easing the reliance on costly forms of care. Senior officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have commented on the cost savings that result from better medication adherence — that is, patients taking their medications as prescribed, often as a result of face-to-face counseling with pharmacists. Several studies published in authoritative journals like Health Affairs back that up.

The simple point is that focusing on pharmacy can benefit patients and our nation alike. More and more decision-makers and policy-makers are talking about that, and acting on it. NACDS appreciates this opportunity to continue this discussion with members of Congress this week.

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