Long-term care physicians respond to report on antipsychotic over-prescribing

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The top professional association of long-term care physicians and medical directors has reiterated its commitment to reducing the use of antipsychotics for dementia care. It did so Tuesday, in response to a recent report that criticized prescribing practices.

The report said that physicians treating nursing home residents are overprescribing antipsychotics through the Medicare Part D program, and that the doctors are not properly overseen by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. ProPublica, an independent investigative journalism organization, released the “Medicare Drug Program Fails to Monitor Prescribers, Putting Seniors and Disabled at Risk” report May 14.

AMDA-Dedicated to Long-Term Care (formerly the American Medical Directors Association) responded Tuesday that it “agrees that ongoing efforts to educate physicians and other clinicians about appropriate prescribing and management of antipsychotic medications are necessary.” The group also said that in some cases, antipsychotics are appropriate, and should be prescribed as long as there is thorough documentation supporting the decision.

The organization stressed that it offers educational programs to help cut down on antipsychotic prescribing by focusing on the root causes of dementia-related behaviors. It made members aware of these resources in a June 2012 letter calling for collaboration with CMS on an antipsychotic reduction initiative.

In terms of oversight, AMDA said it supports a “robust and coordinated pharmacy review process,” and is also committed to educating state survey agencies on the issue.

The American Health Care Association and LeadingAge earlier responded to the report, saying that better guidance for physicians and increased awareness around the issue would help the antipsychotic reduction efforts already underway.

Click here to view the full AMDA statement.

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