Pharmacists petition CMS for Part D changes to long-term care

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The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists and five other healthcare groups are recommending the government make several policy changes to the Medicare Part D program. The purpose is to resolve medication access problems for long-term care residents.

The groups petitioned Mark B. McClellan, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, for the changes. Recommendations include: Allowing physicians to use a form to request non-formulary medication or prior authorization, and prohibiting Part D plans from imposing formulary restrictions or prior authorization requirements at the time of initial fill.

The requests stem from problems related to residents' accessibility to medications during the launch of the program. Pharmacists accused the plans of imposing prior authorization requirements on entire categories of medications. They also complain the large variability among Part D plans creates obstacles to providing quality of care to long-term care residents.

Other groups that signed on to the ASCP letter are: the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, the American Geriatrics Society, the American Psychiatric Association, the Maine Benzodiazepine Study Group and the National Association Directors of Nursing Administration/Long Term Care.
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