SCPC Applauds Unanimous House Panel Passage of 21st Century Cures Bill Recognizing Unique Challenges Facing Long Term Care (LTC) Pharmacy Patients, Providers

Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition Praises Medicare Part D Exemption Language in Drug Management Program That Protects Long-Term Care Patients

Washington, DC – In praising today’s unanimous passage of 21st Century Cures legislation by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition (SCPC) thanked the Committee for recognizing the unique challenges facing long-term care (LTC) pharmacy patients and providers, and for including bill language exempting Part D beneficiaries in skilled nursing facilities and other settings from a proposed medication management “lock-in” provision. The SCPC has made the case that beneficiaries in skilled nursing facilities and other long-term care settings already have sufficient protections from drug abuse and diversion, and should be exempted.

“We thank House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, Ranking Member Frank Pallone, and the full Committee for hearing, considering and acting upon our stated concerns regarding the need to exempt Medicare Part D beneficiaries in long-term care settings from ‘lock-in’ language,” stated Alan G. Rosenbloom, President and CEO of SCPC. “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.”

The SCPC represents companies that own and operate independent LTC pharmacies in roughly 40 states, serving over 350,000 patients in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities.

“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 stated.

Specifically, the bill passed out of Committee (Sec. 3141) expands the mandatory exemption to drug management programs (the “lock-in”) for Part D beneficiaries residing in long-term care facilities, intermediate care facilities, hospices, “or another facility for which frequently abused drugs are dispensed for residents through a contract with a single pharmacy.” The Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) has the discretionary ability to treat other beneficiaries as exempt from the provision.