PHARMACY

Newly introduced controlled substance e-prescribing bill gets industry support

BY DSN STAFF

ARLINGTON, Va. — Two members of Congress have introduced legislation that would mandate electronic prescribing for controlled substances under Medicare Part D. Reps. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., and Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., introduced the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act in the House Wednesday afternoon. 

“Opioids claim nearly a hundred lives a day, and parents across the country worry they will be next to get the call their child has overdosed,” Clark said. “Modernizing public health practices to include electronic prescriptions will curb the over-prescribing of opioids, eliminate the costs and inefficiencies of paperwork, and strengthen communication between doctors and patients. Congress should come together to pass this commonsense solution to prevent overdoses and save lives.”

The legislation drew immediate support from the National Association The National Association of Chain Drug Stores, which sees it as in-line with some of the recommendations the organization shared in a recent letter to the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. NACDS president Steve Anderson wrote a letter to the bill’s sponsors commending its introduction. 
 

“We believe the legislation is an important step in combatting the abuse and diversion of prescription opioid medications. Electronic prescribing of controlled substances adds new dimensions of safety and security,” he wrote. “Prescribers can more easily track the controlled substance prescriptions a patient has received. Additionally, electronic controlled substance prescriptions cannot be altered, cannot be copied, and are electronically trackable. Furthermore, the federal DEA rules for electronic controlled substances prescriptions establish strict security measures, such as two-factor authentication, that reduce the likelihood of fraudulent prescriptions.”

In the letter, Anderson described its consistent support for the advancement of electronic prescribing, as well the evolution of public policy to leverage advantages of the technology. He also expressed appreciation for the legislators’ efforts to craft the legislation in a way that acknowledges and addresses instances in which electronic prescribing is not feasible or may not be possible.

“Oklahoma is consistently ranked among the highest in the nation in overdose deaths from prescription painkillers,” Mullin said. “Despite federal and local efforts, we have seen the opioid epidemic creep into our communities at alarming rates. We need to ensure that patients are receiving opioids only when absolutely necessary and take precautionary measures to prohibit them from falling into the wrong hands. Our bill, the EPCS Act, aims to close a dangerous loophole that has been fueling the problem of excessively prescribed opioids.”

The introduction of H.R. 3528 follows another recent and positive development for the use of e-prescribing for controlled substances. NACDS in July applauded a DEA guidance regarding the forwarding of such prescriptions. By explicitly stating that a DEA-registered pharmacy may forward to another DEA-registered pharmacy an unfilled, original e-prescription for controlled substances that the pharmacy is unable to fill for any reason, the guidance “encourages the use of electronic prescribing for controlled substances, and removes a substantial barrier to doing so,” Anderson said.

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APhA Foundation names 2017 Pinnacle Award honorees

BY DSN STAFF
WASHINGTON, DC — The American Pharmacists Association Foundation has announced the three recipients of the 2017 Pinnacle Awards. The awards, established in 1998, celebrate significant contributions to the medication use process through increased patient adherence, reduced adverse drug events, use of national treatment guidelines, improving patient outcomes, and enhancing communication among all members of the healthcare team. 
 
“The APhA Foundation is proud to honor the extraordinary contributions that these recipients have made to the profession of pharmacy,” APhA Foundation executive director Elizabeth Keyes said. “As the role of pharmacists in health care evolves, the Pinnacle Awards will continue to serve as a platform to support their recognition.”
 
The Awards are presented in three categories — the Individual Award for Career Achievement for people who who have demonstrated leadership in enhancing healthcare quality and medication use; Group Practices, Health Systems, and Health Care Corporations, which recognizes a significant scientific contribution and/or quality improvement project; and Voluntary Health Agencies, Nonprofit Organizations, Associations, Government Agencies, and Public/Private Partnerships, for organizations that have demonstrated approaches to assist patients and their caregivers in achieving better outcomes from their medications.
 
The 2017 Individual Award for Career Achievement has been awarded to pharmacist John Sykora, who has pioneered the appointment-based model, showing a demonstrated a deep, career-long commitment to direct patient care through his pharmacy practice at Abrams and Clark Pharmacy in Long Beach, California. He also has served in leadership roles with the California Pharmacists Association, APhA, the Long Beach Pharmacists Association, the Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committee of SCAN Health Plan, and the Pharmaceutical Care Network.
 
APhA said that the medication synchronization model that Sykora created in 1997 as the “personal service program” now is used in over 22,000 community pharmacies and has received national recognition by APhA and other leading pharmacist associations including Canadian chain Pharmsave. This program inspired the APhA Foundation’s Align My Refills initiative, and it spurred the California legislation to require health plans to approve most refill synchronization requests. 
 
The winner of the 2017 Group Practice–Health System–Health Care Corporation Award is Minnesota-based HealthPartners: Medication Therapy Management Program. The integrated health organization provides both care delivery and plan functions through a network of community and clinic-based pharmacists. It has the triple aim promoting improvement in patient experience, health outcomes, and affordability. It was health plan in Minnesota to provide an MTM benefit for members of its commercial plans in addition to Medicare and Medicaid members. Today, nearly 900,000 HealthPartners members across all 50 states can access MTM services with a pharmacist — either in-office, over the phone or in-home. HealthPartners has developed a pay-for-performance program to incentivize high engagement in its MTM program, and created standards for MTM services through collaboration with the Pharmacy Quality Alliance and other health system entities, APhA said. 
 
This year’s Nonprofit Organization–Association–Public/Private Partnerships Award has been awarded to the Community Pharmacy Foundation, which works to advance community pharmacy practice and patient care delivery through grant funding and resource sharing. The organization prioritizes funding on grants that highlight new and emerging patient care services that are sustainable, transferable, and replicable in community pharmacy practice.  Grantees are often from innovative community pharmacies or are academicians in partnership with community pharmacists operating in single and multiple locations.  Many studies evaluate payment models for pharmacist services delivered independently or in collaboration and partnership with other health care providers, APhA said. As of July 2017, CPF has funded 172 grants, of which 144 are complete and 28 are currently in study. 
 
The recipients will be honored at the APhA Headquarters in Washington D.C. at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 18. APhA said that the Pinnacle Awards are supported by a grant from Merck, as well as an educational donation from Amgen.

 

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American Pharmacies reports results from using FDS’ RxCompass

BY David Salazar

FORT WORTH, Texas — Buying cooperative American Pharmacies has released the results of two studies showing the impact of implementing FDS’ RxCompass data reporting tool powered by myDataMart. The results, shared at its Annual Meeting in San Antonio, shows that RxCompass reports generated gains of more than 1,800 prescription refills and net revenues of $171,000 at six APRx member pharmacies in a 33-week period, and five others saw increased revenues of 108,000 in six weeks.

“The daily and weekly performance reports generated by RxCOMPASS drive value by identifying key operational opportunities like gross profits, prescription revenues and missed refills,” APRx VP sourcing and consulting services John Cooper said. “In particular, the Refill-on-Time report that is pushed daily to subscribing pharmacies has proven highly effective at increasing refill volume and improving timeliness.”

APRx partnered with FDS in an effort to help its member independent pharmacies with a comprehensive business intelligence tool to offer a deeper look at their pharmacy operations. RxCompass identifies dispensing and operational trends, as well as clinical services opportunities, through analysis of dispensing data in the pharmacy management system.

“RxCompass, powered by myDataMart, offers APRx member pharmacies a robust array of dashboards and graphical reports to help them manage patient adherence, Star performance measures, new and lost patients, dispensing analysis and more,” FDS EVP business development Rich Bukovinsky said. “It is compatible with most pharmacy systems and supports population health management efforts, such as vaccination tracking, to ensure pharmacies can leverage every opportunity to improve patient outcomes, strengthen the pharmacy-patient relationship and maximize revenues.”

In the 16-week study of five pharmacies, using RxCompass helped drive gains of two fills per patient, increased revenue-per-script of more than $108 and increased per-patient profit by more than $29.

Besides offering the Refill-on-Time function, RxCompass also offers a Daily Performance Report that shows a snapshot of the pharmacy’s previous-day performance, as well as a monthly report displaying missing and new patients and the pharmacy’s Star Ratings Compliance Scorecard for each claim adjudication plan.

“One of my most compliant stores was losing money, so I looked at the performance report and discovered they were using a size on a generic that was not covered,” APRx board member and owner of one of the pharmacies studied, Alton Kanak, said. “It just took one phone call to say ‘hey, use a different size,’ and they suddenly became profitable.”

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