SCPC Disappointed That HHS Again Ignores Needed Relief Request from Long-Term Care Pharmacies

Latest Distribution Fails to Aid Industry Facing Significant Financial Hardship While Caring for Most Vulnerable Patients

Washington, DCThe Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition (SCPC) today expressed disappointment that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) once again ignored long-term care (LTC) pharmacies in releasing Phase 3 COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund (PRF) dollars to health care providers. LTC pharmacies provide essential patient care and services to vulnerable residents in skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities and have suffered substantial and growing economic damage.

“According to HHS, LTC pharmacy services in nursing homes are ‘integral to patient care,’ yet HHS has yet to provide real relief despite costs that are 10% above and revenues that are more than 20% lower than pre-pandemic levels,” noted SCPC President and CEO Alan Rosenbloom. “The announcement that HHS has increased the funds distributed in Phase 3 from $20 billion to $24.5 billion and has provided more relief to providers who have already received substantial relief in Phase 1 and Phase 2 makes the continuing failure to assist LTC pharmacies even more baffling. LTC facilities have received more than $2 billion in well-deserved and much-needed relief, yet LTC pharmacies, which serve the same vulnerable patient population, remain out in the cold.”

The average LTC facility resident takes 12 prescription medications every day. As active members of each patient’s care planning team, LTC pharmacies provide direct services to patients and their families, perform medication therapy management and drug regimen reviews, and integrate medication therapy into patient treatment pathways.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, LTC pharmacies have faced an onslaught of financial challenges, including additional costs for personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing, employee support, and medication supplies. These costs have also been coupled with plummeting nursing home admissions leading to reduced revenues. LTC pharmacies are now seeing the impact of the substantial spike in community spread over the past two months as occupancy in LTC facilities drops once again.

“HHS must address the severe and growing financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on LTC pharmacies across the country – now. LTC pharmacies have waited more than eight months for increasingly needed relief to ensure timely and uninterrupted access to prescription drugs and related patient care services. LTC pharmacies provide essential clinical services to a vulnerable patient population, a function more important now than ever before,” Rosenbloom concluded. “We urge Secretary Azar to act immediately to provide LTC pharmacies the assistance they deserve.”

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The Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition (SCPC) is the only national organization exclusively representing the interests of LTC pharmacies. Its members operate in all 50 states and serve 850,000 patients daily in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities across the country. Visit seniorcarepharmacies.org to learn more.