While the future of health care continues to be a major focus of Congress, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) emphasizes the importance of patients’ access to care, including pharmacist-provided services and safe and affordable medications. APhA Executive Vice President and CEO Thomas E. Menighan issued the following statement further explaining APhA’s position on health care:
Consistent with our recommendations related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other health care reforms, APhA continues to call for policies that support patient access to and coverage of —pharmacists’ patient care services, the pharmacy of their choice, and safe and affordable medications. An important component to providing access is ensuring adequate reimbursement to pharmacists for their patient care services and to pharmacies for medications and other products. Securing enactment of these policies increases access, improves quality and decreases costs.
APhA strongly advocates for a health care system better structured to optimize the skills and expertise of practitioners, including pharmacists, to provide the best care to patients and value to the system, a position reiterated in letters APhA sent recently to Congressional Leadership and the Trump Administration. APhA has been a strong supporter of recent efforts to insert value into care delivery, payment and coverage. We encourage Congress, when setting policies, to look beyond isolated components of health care to determine value. Because health insurance coverage is frequently analyzed by the benefit type, such as in-patient, out-patient, and drug coverage, a patient’s overall services, costs and outcomes may never be reviewed comprehensively. Congress and other policymakers cannot continue to view drug and medical coverage, and their related costs and outcomes, separately if we are to achieve true value in health care. The US spends nearly $300 billion dollars annually on medication-related problems, many of which are preventable and better addressed by breaking down the many silos within our health care system. Accordingly, health care coverage, payment and delivery policies need to better integrate pharmacists, the medication experts on the health care team, and their patient care services, to optimize coordinated, team-based care delivery and help decrease these types of unnecessary costs that negatively impact patients, their health, and the entire health care system.
We are aware that health care reform at the federal level will likely be a long and multipronged process. APhA is committed to advocating on behalf of our Nation’s 300,000 pharmacists and the patients they serve and will work with federal and state elected officials and policymakers to help patients access the health care services and medications they need from pharmacists, our most accessible health care provider, through a framework that supports both quality and affordability.