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House Energy & Commerce Committee Accepts 'Independence at Home' Pilot Program as Amendment During Health Bill Markup

Friday, September 18, 2009 General News J E 4
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ALEXANDRIA, Va., July 31 The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) today applauded members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee for taking steps to coordinate care and bend the cost curve for Medicare's highest cost beneficiaries. Last night the committee unanimously accepted an amendment to create an "Independence at Home" Pilot Program as part of their health care reform bill. The amendment was introduced by U.S. Representative Ed Markey (D-MA), co-chairman of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's disease and senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee as well as U.S. Representative Mike Burgess (R-TX), member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

The "Independence at Home" pilot brings primary care medical services to Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions in their homes. It is built upon high-satisfaction care-coordination models from the Veterans Administration Home Based Care Program that have proved effective in reducing hospitalizations by more than 60% and reducing costs by 24-60%. Physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and physician-assistants will be incentivized to work together and produce savings through preventative care that keeps patients out of more costly treatment settings. The "Independence at Home" pilot also meets all of the Congressional Budget Offices' criteria for true health care reform.

ASCP supports this amendment because it takes significant steps to address medication-related problems, which account for $200 billion annually in direct health care costs. ASCP Director of Policy & Advocacy Claudia Schlosberg, JD, stated in ASCP's letter of support, "We are especially delighted that the amendment recognizes the medication-related problems in the elderly and the valuable role of the pharmacist in correcting them." Older adults, who take more medications per capita than any other age group, are at highest risk for medication-related problems (MRPs). Although people over age 65 make up only about 12% of the population, they account for over 36% of all reported adverse drug reactions. Adverse drug reactions and nonadherence are responsible for 28% of hospitalizations in the elderly, and 23% of nursing home admissions, both of which are very costly forms of care. Researchers estimate that about 25 to 30% of all MRPs in older adults are preventable. The Institute of Medicine has previously acknowledged the critical role that pharmacists play in reducing medication-related problems and has also stated that "access to pharmacists' expertise must be possible at all times."

The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, the recognized expert in geriatric pharmacotherapy, is the international professional society devoted to optimal medication management and improved health outcomes for all older persons. ASCP's 12,000 members serve individuals residing in a variety of environments, including nursing facilities, sub acute care and assisted living facilities, psychiatric hospitals, and hospice programs, as well as in-home and community-based care. Visit ASCP's Web site at http://www.ascp.com.

SOURCE American Society of Consultant Pharmacists
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