BALTIMORE, Md., Dec. 29, 2011 —Remedi SeniorCare, one of the nation’s largest independent long-term care (LTC) pharmacy providers to skilled nursing, assisted living and retirement communities, believes that the current relationship between the consultant pharmacist, long-term care (LTC) Pharmacy, and LTC facility is and will continue to be an ethical and appropriate relationship that supports patient-centered, cost-effective care with the shared goal of achieving the best outcomes for residents. This statement comes on the heels of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) recently proposed changes that would require consultant pharmacists to be completely independent of long-term care (LTC) pharmacies and facilities, as a consideration of the Conditions of Participation for Long Term Care Facilities in the Medicare program.
CMS is concerned that an association between the two entities creates a conflict of interest that could result in kick-backs and incentives from pharmaceutical companies, as well as the potential overuse of antipsychotic medications by residents.
“Consultant pharmacists spend a majority of their efforts ensuring appropriate drug therapy, which may include the addition of a medication-but most often includes discontinuation of medications and/or reduction in dose. In fact, a recent industry study of more than 800 long-term care facilities across the country revealed that the only state with independent consultants, New Jersey, had higher rates of consumption than the general non-independent population,” said Michael Bronfein, president and CEO Remedi SeniorCare.
Another concrete example to illustrate this point can be found in the medication recommendations Remedi consultant pharmacists made during May through October of this year. In this six month period, 3,219 recommendations were made to discontinue a medication or decrease a dose, while a total of 176 recommendations were made to add a medication. ‘Overprescribing and overutilization’ is not a result of recommendations from the consultant pharmacists. In fact, the opposite is true as evidenced by this data. Additionally, by utilizing industry software and technology solutions, like Remedi’s ATI, consultant pharmacists can help facilities save in Medicare costs by recommending lower-cost alternative medications.
Typically, consultant pharmacists affiliated with the provider pharmacy have the ability to access and review resident data generated real-time directly from the pharmacy database. To avoid potential drug therapy interactions, consultant pharmacists review all new prescriptions, orders and current medications before medications are dispensed, which increases medication safety and reduces excess waste and costs.
“Remedi’s consultant pharmacists utilize a software program that is able to receive up-to-date medication dispensing information directly from the pharmacy. Comparing pharmacy medication profiles to documentation found in a resident’s chart often uncovers errors that would not otherwise be identified at the facility,” said Bronfein.
To ensure consultant pharmacists employed by LTC Pharmacy providers remain impartial and unaffected by industry or employer, Bronfein offered the following suggestions, which he believes should be the “gold standard” among LTC pharmacy providers nationwide:
- Enforcement of the requirement that consultant pharmacist services are delivered at fair market rate
- Separate contracts for consultant pharmacist services be mandated, clearly delineating the scope of services required
- Independence of the consultant pharmacist should continue to be an option that a LTC facility may exercise, but independence should not be a mandated federal requirement.
“The knowledge and problem-solving skills of the consultant pharmacist as a committed employee of the pharmacy are critical. They go beyond reviewing resident medication profiles, and play an integral role in identifying issues, creating solutions, and facilitating communications between pharmacy and facility to ensure better resident-centered care and safety,” added Bronfein.
About Remedi SeniorCare
Remedi SeniorCare®, a leading-edge pharmacy provider, enables long-term care facilities to deliver better business results and provide exceptional resident-centered care. At the forefront of implementing high-tech advancements for the industry, Remedi redefined medication administration and management with the launch of the Paxit automated medication dispensing system delivering superior accuracy, efficiency and medication cost reduction. Remedi’s online and electronic tools via MyRemedi web portal and Connexit ™ electronic data interchange further drive business management efficiency and overall cost reduction. Remedi supports nearly 25,000 residents across eight states with RapidResponse℠ customer service, ensuring prompt access to medication delivery, expertise and comprehensive support. For more information, visit www.RemediRx.com.