The Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition (SCPC) applauded the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday after it advanced the 21st Century Cures Act, which protects long-term-care (LTC) patients.
The bill features language exempting Medicare Part D beneficiaries in skilled nursing facilities and other settings from a proposed medication-management "lock-in" provision that targets prescription-drug abuse. The SCPC has said beneficiaries in skilled nursing facilities and other long-term care settings already have sufficient protections from drug abuse and should be exempted.
"This is a highly significant and positive policy development that protects patient access to needed medications, and specifically recognizes the unique characteristics of the long-term-care patient population and the distinctions between specialized long-term-care pharmacies and more common retail pharmacies, particularly the additional requirements imposed on LTC pharmacies under Medicare Part D rules,” SCPC President and CEO Alan Rosenbloom said.
The bill expands the mandatory exemption on drug-management programs for Part D beneficiaries living in LTC facilities, intermediate-care facilities, hospices and other facilities. The Department of Health and Human Services has the discretionary ability to treat other beneficiaries as exempt from the provision.
"The process of educating Congress, federal regulators and the health-policy community about the unique characteristics of LTC pharmacies and the high acuity, seriously compromised Part D beneficiaries they serve is now successfully underway, and we will continue in a manner that stresses facts, relevant data and bipartisan policy solutions," Rosenbloom said.