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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores said that it has signed on as a partner for a new public-private partnership, announced by the Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, that seeks to improve patient health and lower healthcare costs through the use of community-based care transition programs.
NACDS lauded the initiative's recognition of pharmacy's role in helping patients take their medications as prescribed.
"[Today's] announcement continues the momentum behind the increased recognition of the value of pharmacy services in healthcare delivery, and we applaud secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator Don Berwick for recognizing pharmacy's ability to help reduce costs and save and improve lives," NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson stated. "The pharmacist is an important partner as a patient transitions from a hospital to other settings of care. Pharmacists provide counseling on how best to take medications as prescribed — also known as medication adherence — which can help ensure optimum patient health and prevent more costly and avoidable forms of care."
HHS predicted that the Partnership for Patients: Better Care, Lower Costs initiative will help save 60,000 lives and up to $35 billion, including up to $10 billion for Medicare, by preventing complications when patients transition from one care setting to another, such as when patients are released from the hospital and return home.
NACDS signed the Partnership Commitment Pledge, which stated: "As professionals who have dedicated our lives to caring for patients, families and communities, we support the goals of this Initiative and commit to building on work already under way to achieve safe, high-quality care by utilizing tools and processes that seek to improve safety and continuity for patients. We pledge to:
Work to redesign activities across clinical settings to reduce harm, reduce preventable readmissions and improve care transitions;
Engage with patients and families to implement practices that foster more patient-centered care that improves safety, communication and care coordination; and
Learn from and share with others our experiences with making care safer and more coordinated."
One of the elements of this initiative in which pharmacy can play a vital role is helping patients achieve better health and helping to reduce avoidable healthcare costs through the use of medication review and management, NACDS stated.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 provided $500 million in new funding for community-based care transition programs to reduce hospital re-admissions and improve patient care. This collaborative approach by community healthcare providers would enable patients to receive the most appropriate, individualized care as they transition from a hospital.
"As the New England Healthcare Institute found, the result of patients not taking their medications as prescribed is more than $290 billion in additional costs each year resulting from emergency and catastrophic healthcare costs, among other factors. These costs can be curbed through the utilization of pharmacy within the healthcare delivery system and programs like this partnership," Anderson added. "As the face of neighborhood health care, pharmacy is part of the solution."