I thought it would be useful to share the key points we're using to stay positive in any discussion about health care reform, as a follow up to my recent posting about where HCR stands. The following bullets (stolen from APhA VP of Government Affairs Kristina Lunner) can be used to help you frame your messages to legislators either in letters, emails, or personal visits before they slip away and come back here to DC:
- Regardless of how coverage is financed or expanded, we must take advantage of this health reform opportunity to improve the quality of care and lower health care costs. Medications are a primary form of therapy for preventing or treating disease. Unfortunately, data show that patients — particularly the chronically ill — face great challenges in managing their medication therapy; these prevent them from meeting their treatment goals and result in preventable adverse events and avoidable costs. Health reform must address our nation’s medication-use crisis.
- Pharmacists, when provided the opportunity to partner with patients and prescribers to help patients manage their medication therapy, improve health outcomes, and reduce overall health care costs. Policymakers must take advantage of the lessons learned from public and private sector programs and fully optimize the clinical expertise and accessibility of pharmacists to help empower patients to manage their medication therapy.
- The House Tri-Committees’ bill recognizes the importance of managing medications and of pharmacist clinical services. Critical among these provisions is the medication therapy management grant program that was added by Congressman Butterfield (D-NC) during the House Energy & Commerce Committee markup. Similar language first appeared in the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee’s proposal. We support both sets of provisions.
- With medications the primary form of therapy in this country and approximately $177 billion a year spent on medication-related problems, Congress will not meet its goals of improved quality and lowered health care costs if they don’t take advantage of this opportunity to fully optimize the medication expertise of pharmacists and don’t help patients, particularly the chronically ill, manage their disease.