New protocol for long-term care pharmacies will bolster quality, accreditor says

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The Accreditation Commission for Health Care has released new standards for long-term care pharmacies. The standards are based on regulations from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention and other “pertinent organizations and authorities,” ACHC announced July 17.

In creating these standards, ACHC responded to a “paradigm shift,” according Tim Safley, the commission's director of durable medical equipment, pharmacy and sleep. 

The recent cases of meningitis tied to a compounding pharmacy, as well as the growing long-term care needs of an aging population, have created a need for LTC pharmacies to “generate better business practices” and deliver medications consistently, in line with federal and state regulations, Safley told McKnight's.

CMS grants deeming authority to certain independent accreditors, including ACHC, empowering them to determine whether providers in particular categories meet Medicare certification requirements. There is currently no deeming authority for pharmacies, but Safley anticipates that mandatory accreditation requirements are “around the corner.”

ACHC worked on its long-term care protocol with current customers, and two LTC pharmacies have already earned accreditation through their participation in beta tests. These are Preferred Pharmacy Solutions, LLC (Haverhill, MA), and Rx Remedies doing business as VitalCare (Franklinton, LA). 

Only one other accrediting body, The Joint Commission, offers long-term care pharmacy standards, according to Safley.