The Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition (SCPC) wants Congress to iron out the complex maze of federal and state regulations and policies governing long-term care (LTC) pharmacies, warning that differing definitions and overlapping jurisdictions may jeopardize seniors’ access to quality care coordination.
Growing roles for LTC pharmacies and the evolving payment landscape have complicated the reporting and procedural regulations for maintaining supply and delivery, according to an SCPC policy brief.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal entities all have different definitions of an LTC pharmacy and different regulations concerning drug repackaging, emergency drug distribution, drug disposal and utilization tracking. Without some sort of consensus, the SCPC contends, “the FDA Guidance [on repackaging] puts patient care at risk by imposing requirements on LTC pharmacies directly conflicting with CMS requirements.”
Crafting better definitions and oversight of LTC pharmacies means acknowledging the unique role they play in the healthcare continuum. “LTC pharmacies have played an essential role not only in providing timely and emergency dispensing of medication, but also in fulfilling key nursing facility obligations to perform drug regimen reviews and more recently medication therapy management,” the policy brief notes. “Over the decades, CMS has acknowledged the key role that LTC pharmacy fills in the LTC ecosystem, and specifically in providing medication services to nursing homes and their residents.”
The SCPC even hints at a rating system for pharmacies similar to the Nursing Home Compare system: “To operate within this emerging new environment, LTC pharmacy will have to demonstrate the value of its services–both to earn its compensation, and to develop and satisfy appropriate metrics to demonstrate it is a quality provider,” the policy brief adds. “A pharmacy ‘star rating’ system may emerge by which pharmacies, like nursing homes, can be measured by payers and intermediaries.”