Guest Post: In Celebration of National Pharmacy Month
By Susan Cantrell, CEO of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy
With October devoted to National Pharmacy Awareness, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about the outstanding efforts of managed care pharmacists across the United States. As CEO of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP), I frequently see and hear about these activities — how so many in the world of managed care pharmacy consistently strive to improve patient health by ensuring access to high quality, cost-effective medication and other therapies. This work, which often takes place behind the scenes, has a tangible and positive impact on behalf of patients across the country.
At AMCP, we’re privileged to play our part in enabling this vital mission. Here are a few of the things we’re advocating for in order to facilitate patient health and equity:
- Reaffirming the vital role pharmacists play in local communities: We’ve enthusiastically supported the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act (ECAPS, H.R. 1770/S. 2477). This bipartisan legislation will help patients in some of our most underserved areas—places where pharmacists are a lifeline to necessary health care—maintain reliable access to testing, vaccination, and treatment for COVID-19, RSV, the flu, and other threats to public health. Nearly nine in 10 Americans live within a five-mile radius of a pharmacy and, especially in rural areas, pharmacists are on the front lines of health care. Moreover, if signed into law, the ECAPS Act would establish coverage and reimbursement under Medicare Part B, thereby enabling pharmacists to carry out vital services for beneficiaries of these programs.
- Enabling deeper, more meaningful engagement with patients: We’re devoted to Medication Therapy Management (MTM), which puts pharmacists in the front seat when it comes to engaging with patients about the medications they use. MTM focuses on optimizing outcomes when considering how patients utilize their medications and therapeutics. There are several elements to MTM — which is a statutory requirement of Medicare Part D — but, at its core, the process entails hands-on review by pharmacists. Often through direct engagement with patients, pharmacists regularly review a wide range of medications, including prescriptions, over the counter and herbal medicines, and dietary supplements. With pharmacists applying their expertise in a holistic way, the clinical and financial benefits for patients are immense.
- Elevating the patient voice in our work with payers: We’re working to assess how much the patient voice currently features in payer decision-making and ways patients could play an even more prominent role in the future. Through a recent survey that we conducted, we’ve engaged directly with payers and patient groups to assess the level of collaboration and the methods that payers use to solicit patient input. And it’s not just information gathering; at AMCP, we are actively discussing and thinking of frameworks that would encourage greater and more productive cooperation.
Managed care pharmacy is an unsung hero in the American health care system. Because of the work of AMCP’s members, patients can get access to needed treatments and therapeutics at an affordable price. Because of managed care pharmacy, patients across our country are receiving better health care. That is something worth celebrating this October.
On behalf of AMCP’s leadership, thank you for your outstanding work and commitment!