In a December 12 letter, eight senators urged U.S. Senate leaders to include language expanding Medicare patient access to medication therapy management (MTM) in any appropriate end-of-year legislation.
Noting that Part D MTM access is limited to the one-quarter of seniors with multiple chronic conditions who take multiple medications, the letter focused on “language that would allow seniors who suffer from any chronic disease that accounts for high spending in the Medicare program to benefit from MTM should that intervention result in savings to the Medicare program.”
The letter cited MTM results from North Carolina’s ChecKmeds NC program and a study published in the March–April 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (JAPhA). In the ChecKmeds program, MTM saved $34 million by helping 31,000 seniors to optimize their medication use for a return on investment of nearly 14 to 1. In the study published in JAPhA, “Clinical and economic outcomes of medication therapy management services: the Minnesota experience,” the reduction in total annual health expenditures exceeded the cost of providing MTM services by more than 12 to 1.
The senators signing the letter included Sen. Kay R. Hagan (D-NC), Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-NY), and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS).
Describing MTM as “an opportunity to improve patient health and reduce health care costs,” the senators added that professional services—including MTM—offered by pharmacists and other qualified health care providers were “the best way to make sure Americans use medications effectively.”
APhA lobbies Members of Congress and their staff on the issue. There are two MTM bills pending in Congress, the MTM Benefits Act (H.R. 891) and the MTM Empowerment Act (S. 274). The MTM Benefits Act, introduced by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), has 63 sponsors. The MTM Empowerment Act, introduced by Hagan, has 18 sponsors.