PHARMACY

Walmart exec elected chair of health, benefits group

BY DSN STAFF

SAN FRANCISCO — Walmart’s U.S. VP benefits, Chris McSwain, was elected chairman of the Integrated Benefits Institute, the organization announced Monday.

“Chris McSwain has played an important leadership role in the health benefits community, and we look forward to his continued leadership with IBI,” said Thomas Parry, president of the nonprofit health and productivity research organization.

“The work done by IBI has played a critical role in helping employers and their supplier partners work more effectively to manage work force health and productivity,” McSwain said. “U.S. employers face both challenges and opportunities as we navigate health reform, and I’m excited to be working with IBI at this critical time.”

Others elected to leadership roles at the organization include Dan Lyon, VP and manager for Liberty Mutual, who was elected vice chair, and Anita Weir, manager of health services for Safeway, who was elected treasurer.

IBI provides employers and their supplier partners with resources for demonstrating the business value of health. As a pioneer, leader and nonprofit supplier of health and productivity research, measurement and benchmarking, IBI is a source for benefits performance analysis, research-based approaches and forums for information and education. IBI’s programs, resources and expert member networks advance understanding about the link between and the impact of health-related productivity on corporate America’s bottom line.

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NACDS to host press conference in support of MTM bill

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In line with NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill this week, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores will hold a press conference in support of S. 274, The Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2011.

The legislation, which was introduced by Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and cosponsored by Sens. Al Franken, D-Minn.; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Tim Johnson, D-S.D.; and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., will be discussed Thursday at the Reserve Officers Association.

The conference will feature NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson, who will discuss the importance of MTM, a professional service offered by pharmacists and other qualified health practitioners that helps ensure medications are taken appropriately, thus preventing higher costs and preventable forms of treatment.

The press conference is a component of the NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill, where more than 300 pharmacists, pharmacy students, executives and other pharmacy advocates will meet with lawmakers to advocate for pro-patient, pro-pharmacy policies.

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Texas Health and Human Services Commission to modernize Medicaid program

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The agency that operates Texas’ state Medicaid program is proposing to save costs by administering prescription drug benefits the same way private insurers do, drawing praise from a trade group representing the country’s pharmacy benefit managers.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which runs the program, said the change would save state taxpayers $82 million. Similar changes have been proposed in New York and New Jersey.

“Texas shouldn’t pay more for Medicaid drug benefits than private insurers and Medicare,” Pharmaceutical Care Management Association president and CEO Mark Merritt said. “Currently, the program uses fewer generic drugs and pays drug stores more than triple the fees that Medicare or private insurers pay. By modernizing Medicaid drug benefits, Texas will save millions without cutting benefits to those in need.”

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