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The Dose: Part D Star Rating spells opportunity for independents

BY DSN STAFF

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NCPA Digest: More independents collaborating with physicians

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Independent pharmacies collaborate with physicians as many as 10 times every day on prescription drug therapy, up from 8.7 times, according to the recently released 2015 National Community Pharmacists Association's Digest, sponsored by Cardinal Health. Doctors accept pharmacists' generic product recommendations 94% of the time and 80% of the time for other therapeutic recommendations, reinforcing the value of pharmacists to the health care team.
 
 "The NCPA Digest affirms that independent community pharmacies are essential to patients and particularly those in underserved inner city and rural areas," stated NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey. "These innovative small business owners are defining the future of pharmacy," he said. "In addition, the Digest illustrates the challenges of declining, even negative, revenue from prescription drug reimbursement. This underscores the urgency with which community pharmacy owners must address two areas. First, improve patient adherence to make your pharmacy indispensable to payers who are under increasing pressure to demonstrate success in that area. Second, take advantage of every opportunity to diversify pharmacy revenue streams beyond prescription drug payments."
 
"The healthcare industry continues to explore new approaches to challenges associated with care delivery and coordination, which is an opportunity for the community pharmacist to play an increasingly significant role in the healthcare system," added Ron Clerico, VP retail marketing at Cardinal Health. "Consumers and patients have access to a wealth of information and are taking on additional responsibilities for their healthcare decisions – and they are looking for a trusted healthcare advisor to guide them through all the options."
 
According to the Digest, the number of independents in operation was down slightly in 2014 by 1.5% to 22,478. Those pharmacies employed more than 314,000 individuals, however. Average prescription volume was similarly down 1.4% to 61,568 prescriptions, a decline NCPA ascribes in part to limited networks. 
 
The most common niche patient care services offered by independent community pharmacies were: medication therapy management (provided by 80% of independent community pharmacies); same-day home delivery (78%); immunizations (71%); and compounding customized medications for patients (65%).
 
As many as 26% of independent community pharmacy owners have ownership in two or more pharmacies.
 

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NCPA recommits to independent pharmacy, names new president

BY Michael Johnsen

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The National Community Pharmacists Associaton on Tuesday recommitted to advancing the profession of independent retail pharmacy with the passing of several resolutions at its 2015 NCPA Annual Convention that advocate value-based reimbursement and pharmacist-physician collaborative practices and fight pharmacy benefit management practices that are detrimental to the independent's business. 
 
In addition, Brad Arthur was officially named NCPA president. Arthur co-owns Black Rock Pharmacy and Brighton Eggert Pharmacy, two full-line community pharmacies in Buffalo, N.Y. He is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Pharmacy. Arthur’s father was also an independent community pharmacist and president of NCPA, which was then known as the National Association of Retail Druggists.
 
“I pledge to work and to fight each and every day to ensure that our friends appreciate us and our adversaries respect us,” Arthur told the NCPA members gathered in the House of Delegates. “NCPA is the loudest, most credible voice for independent community pharmacy and I assure you that our commitment to advocacy efforts will not go away, it will not go unnoticed and we will not relent until there is meaningful change for independent community pharmacy and the patients we serve.”
 
Pharmacists approved the following resolutions for NCPA:
 
  • With Medicare and other payers moving toward a value-based reimbursement approach, that NCPA “seeks and supports policies, initiatives, and programs that facilitate community pharmacists serving as outpatient health care centers” and “proactively promote and advocate both for these expanded roles for community pharmacists and for new payment models for performing them.”;
  • As pharmacist-physician collaborative practices continue to grow more common, NCPA reaffirmed its policy position that the organization “supports state laws to protect the freedom of individual physicians and community pharmacists to collaborate through contracts or other arrangements, including protocols, to help assure the appropriate drug therapy, and to maximize patient compliance with such therapy.”;
  • Regarding PBMs, one of the resolutions requires that NCPA “pursue solutions to direct and indirect remuneration practices by PBMs and other entities that obscure or distort transparent business practices at the expense of pharmacy small business owners and the patients they serve.” A second resolution calls for NCPA to “pursue remedies that address the PBM inflation of patient copays and other improper PBM practices that disregard their fiduciary responsibilities to serve the best interests of the payers that employ them, the patients required to use them, and the pharmacies that form their pharmacy network.”
“These resolutions address two areas that are vitally important to independent community pharmacists,” stated Doug Hoey, NCPA CEO. “Tomorrow’s health system will put more emphasis on quality of care and patient outcomes. Independent community pharmacists are well positioned to lead that transformation, at times through physician-pharmacist collaborative practice agreements, and should be appropriately reimbursed for their services," he said. "As our country demands more transparency in health care pricing, requiring more disclosure from PBM corporations is a great place to start.”
 

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