Report Underscores Unique Role of Long-Term Care Pharmacies in Assuring Patient Safety and Improving Health Outcomes

A new report from the Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition (SCPC) and ATI Advisory (ATI) highlights the unique role of long-term care (LTC) pharmacies in helping individuals with some of the most complex care needs in the U.S. healthcare system by providing careful, long-term medication management as well as patient and caregiver education to reduce the barriers that typically hinder use of prescription medications.

The report, The Role of Long-Term Care Pharmacy in Supporting Individuals with Long-Term Services and Supports Needs,” features case studies of three LTC pharmacies that offer different service models to home-based patients in various markets: Geritom (Minnesota), Maine Veterans’ Homes Pharmacies (Maine), and Grane Rx (Pennsylvania). The case studies outline the patient populations these pharmacies serve, the pharmacies’ relationships with and satisfaction among patients and families, and the pharmacies’ services, care delivery models, and potential impacts on care costs and quality.

“Long-term care pharmacies play an essential role in communities across the U.S., particularly as more of our population ages,” said Alan Rosenbloom, President and CEO of the Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition. “This report underscores the important opportunity for Congress to remove barriers and allow LTC pharmacies to improve outcomes and reduce the cost of care for seniors and individuals with disabilities, not just in institutional care but in home- and community-based settings, as well.”

The report looks closely at the provision of LTC pharmacy services in home- and community-based settings, as more individuals opt to receive long-term services and supports (LTSS) at home. Because LTC pharmacy patients in these settings typically live with serious impairments and multiple chronic conditions, they tend to need more medications from more prescribers than other patients. LTC pharmacies are critical in helping patients, families, and caregivers manage these medications safely and effectively.

“Using real-world examples, our report demonstrates the emerging and necessary role of pharmacy solutions for older adults aging in place and their family caregivers in the U.S. healthcare system,” said ATI’s lead researcher, Nils Franco. “TheseLTC pharmacies show us how to deliver care to individuals living with disabilities and multiple chronic conditions, across many different settings, and in doing so, provide meaningful support to families and caregivers while reducing risks for the patients they serve.”

The report notes the challenges that LTC pharmacies face today, including policy and operational barriers that have prevented them from serving more of the country’s rising number of patients in home- and community-based settings. Between 1985 and 2014, Medicaid spending on LTSS in home- and community-based settings increased from just 7 percent to 53 percent.

“The needs and preferences of long-term care patients are evolving, and health policy must evolve with them to ensure individuals in all settings are receiving the comprehensive, high-quality pharmacy services they need. This will lead to better patient safety, improved health outcomes, and more cost-effective care in the communities LTC pharmacies serve,” added Rosenbloom. “We know from previous studies by ATI and SCPC that 75 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who need LTC services, including some who are under 65, already live at home. By increasing access to LTC pharmacy services in home- and community-based settings, our members can more efficiently and effectively serve one of our nation’s most at-risk populations.”

Read the full report here:

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Ben Keeton

Publisher at Medical News
Ben is the publisher of Medical News and focuses on the business of healthcare in Kentucky.
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