Long-Term Care Pharmacy Leaders Request Prioritization for Provider Relief Fund
The Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition and its Members Issue Letters to HHS Secretary Becerra and Congressional Leadership Requesting Immediate Action to Provide Relief for LTC Pharmacies Serving Most Vulnerable People
Washington, DC (May 5, 2021) – Today, Alan Rosenbloom, President and CEO of the Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition (SCPC), sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra requesting prompt relief and support for the prioritization of long-term care (LTC) pharmacies in the next distribution of the Provider Relief Fund. This letter follows a similar one sent on behalf of leaders from 12 of the largest LTC pharmacies in the country, representing more than 25% of the LTC pharmacy sector, to Congressional leadership requesting support for prompt relief.
Congress established the Provider Relief Fund under the CARES Act in March 2020 to provide financial relief to health care providers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of today, LTC pharmacies have not received any of this important relief, despite providing essential health care and services to LTC facility residents throughout the pandemic. LTC pharmacies serve residents, who need an average of 12-13 medications daily, by dispensing and delivering prescription drugs, as well as consulting directly with residents and staff. The pharmacists and nurses employed by LTC pharmacies are integral to health care planning and management crucial to overall resident care and quality of life.
As a result of this pandemic, LTC pharmacies cite both significant revenue losses and higher costs in serving assisted living communities, nursing homes and other communal settings where older adults live. LTC pharmacies are incurring 10% higher operating costs due to personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing, and other required safety measures, while simultaneously witnessing an 11% revenue loss, all of which should be covered under the Fund.
“The role of long-term care pharmacies in the continuum of care and maintaining quality of life for residents is crucial, especially for the many seniors served every day in LTC facilities, which have faced immense and continuing challenges during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis,” noted Alan Rosenbloom, SCPC President and CEO. “Leaders from the LTC pharmacy sector and the Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition wrote to Congressional leadership and HHS Secretary Becerra respectively to request urgent relief to continue providing essential services to LTC residents.”
In addition to providing uninterrupted medication access and care throughout the pandemic, LTC pharmacies are playing a central role in the successful delivery and administration of COVID-19 vaccines to their communities. However, the costs of delivering and administering vaccines to residents on a facility-by-facility basis are much higher than centralized sites. The federal government’s one-size-fits-all payment approach has worsened the financial situation for this sector because payments to LTC pharmacies have only covered 60% of vaccine administration costs.
In the past year, HHS has given at least $12 billion in well-deserved financial relief to LTC facilities. Yet the pharmacies that serve residents in these facilities remain excluded, despite the close link between the financial impact on LTC facilities and that on LTC pharmacies. Fair and equitable relief for LTC pharmacies would require no more than $370 million from the Fund.
“We urge Secretary Becerra to prioritize equitable relief to LTC pharmacies in the next Provider Relief Fund allocation, given their irreplaceable role in communities nationwide,” said Rosenbloom. “We cannot afford to neglect LTC pharmacies and the residents that desperately depend on their services and care.”
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About Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition
The Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition (SCPC) is the only national organization exclusively representing the interests of LTC pharmacies, representing 75% of the sector overall. 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.
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