PharMerica Joins Successful New LTC Pharmacy Coalition
The only Washington, DC-based advocacy organization representing the interests of the nation’s long term care (LTC) pharmacy sector, the Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition (SCPC), scored a major coup in August when it welcomed a major national provider of LTC pharmacy services, PharMerica, as a new member.
For SCPC, or any federal advocacy group with just two years under its belt, displaying swift, tangible legislative and regulatory successes in a manner that attracts a major industry player as a new member is impressive. For the sake of full disclosure, SCPC is an sm/c/p client, and successfully starting a new association from scratch in an advocacy marketplace as competitive as Washington, D.C. is as rewarding as it is difficult.
As a result of growth over the past two years, SCPC now represents LTC pharmacies that serve 45% of all patients in skilled nursing and assisted living – or about 675,000 patients every day. These figures are up from 20% of all in LTC pharmacies and roughly 400,000 patients just a year ago.
“LTC pharmacies’ unique clinical and consultative offerings are increasingly important to the broader long term and post-acute care equation,” said Greg Weishar, CEO of Louisville, KY-based PharMerica, in making the announcement. “SCPC’s specific focus on legislative and regulatory matters relevant to our growing sector – and their success in quickly establishing themselves as an effective advocacy organization in Washington – will be beneficial to our patients and our customers throughout the nation.”
Michael G. Bronfein, Chairman of SCPC, welcomed the addition of PharMerica as a member: “PharMerica joining SCPC is a major development for our entire membership and the nation’s LTC pharmacy sector at-large. Moreover, it is a clear signal that in just a few years we have successfully begun articulating to lawmakers, regulators and the media the unique challenges and problems LTC pharmacies face in a tumultuous business and public policy environment. We have focused on proposing real, bipartisan, research-based policy solutions – not just delineating problems.”
Bronfein noted President Obama just signed into law the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which contained a SCPC–sponsored provision exempting Medicare Part D beneficiaries in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and other LTC settings from an unnecessary medication management ’lock-in‘ provision otherwise applied to Medicare Part D beneficiaries.
The newly-enacted law specifically recognizes the additional requirements already imposed on LTC pharmacies under Medicare and Medicaid Requirements of Participation and Medicare Part D rules, and is the first federal statutory provision recognizing the unique differences between the LTC pharmacy sector and all other pharmacy providers. Stated Bronfein. “This is a major achievement for the SCPC, and beneficial to the nation’s LTC pharmacies and our patient population.”
In addition to CARA’s LTC pharmacy lock-in exemption, other SCPC policy achievements including CMS finalizing a long-awaited rule prohibiting the use of prorated or daily dispensing fees (DDF) by Medicare Part D prescription drug plans and sponsoring two major Avalere research projects – a foundational educational tool for Congress detailing the major differences between LTC and retail pharmacies, and a separate Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) pricing analysis.
LTC pharmacy-specific data and studies are essential to clarifying on Capitol Hill the fact LTCP’s are wholly-different from more recognized retail and community pharmacies. Just getting that basic point across to Hill health L.A.’s is essential, and remains a primary educational mission.
The bottom line is that the LTC pharmacy sector finally has an effective advocacy arm in DC with a specialized, narrow industry focus — the lack of which hampers the handful of less effective, marginal players in the LTC pharmacy advocacy space. Congratulations to SCPC president and CEO, Alan Rosenbloom, and the other key vendors working on behalf of SCPC in addition to sm/c/p: Schmidt Public Affairs, BGR Group and Venn Strategies.