Group urges Congress to create 'overdue' definition of LTC pharmacy

Differing definitions of long-term care pharmacies used by government agencies may threaten seniors' care and disrupt care coordination, according to a leading long-term care pharmacy group.

In a policy brief released Monday, the Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition urged Congress and other regulatory authorities to adopt a “statutory, legislative” definition of long-term care pharmacies in order to ensure consistency across care settings for the more than 1.4 million Americans receiving the pharmacies' services.

Currently the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services uses the “most comprehensive” definition of long-term care pharmacy, while the definitions used by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration are “far less concise,” SCPC said.

The policy brief also encourages Congress to address the “rapidly diversifying LTC marketplace,” and how LTC pharmacies should “operate in a future driven by diverse value-based purchasing models of [healthcare] delivery.”

SCPC will follow up the policy brief later this year with a potential definition of long-term care pharmacy for regulators to consider, said Alan Rosenbloom, president and CEO of SCPC.

“The range of activist federal agencies seeking to regulate LTC pharmacies today demands that Congress adopt a clear, statutory definition that explicitly identifies the unique and specific service offerings that LTC pharmacies provide,” Rosenbloom said. “Only by doing so can federal laws appropriately — and consistently — apply to the practice of LTC pharmacy, particularly in the face of a growing need for LTC services in our rapidly evolving [healthcare] delivery system."