Arlington, Va. – In a statement today, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) urged members of the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health to focus on policies and innovations that will improve healthcare access and foster healthcare-delivery partnerships.

Expanding access to pharmacist services is a key component to reducing healthcare costs and improving patient outcomes.

As part of its commitment to strengthening and improving Medicare, NACDS asked the Subcommittee to support bipartisan legislation—H.R. 592/S. 314, the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act—which would increase access to pharmacist-provided services to underserved Medicare beneficiaries, within pharmacists’ scope of practice. The legislation has been cosponsored by more than 65 percent of the U.S. House of Representatives and 45 percent of the U.S. Senate.

“The role pharmacists are playing in healthcare delivery continues to expand. In addition to medication adherence services, pharmacists are on the frontline of providing access to health tests, helping patients manage chronic health conditions and expanding immunization services,” said NACDS President & CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE. “Expanding access to pharmacist services is a key component to reducing healthcare costs and improving patient outcomes.”

NACDS also voiced support for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation’s (CMMI) Enhanced Medication Therapy Management (MTM) Model Pilot, which would improve the Part D MTM program by increasing outreach and targeting strategies, and ensuring services are in line with beneficiaries’ needs. NACDS urged the lawmakers to help ensure the inclusion of retail community pharmacists in the pilot program to enhance its potential for success.

Because the CMMI Enhanced MTM Model Pilot will begin in 2017, NACDS asked lawmakers to support S. 776, the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2015, which would give MTM access to beneficiaries with chronic conditions in the short term before the pilot is implemented.

NACDS emphasized its ongoing commitment to working with Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and other stakeholders to improve access to healthcare services, especially for medically underserved populations.