WASHINGTON, March 10, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In praising today's Senate passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), the Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition (SCPC) thanked Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Christopher Coons (D-DE) and their colleagues in the U.S. Senate for helping place the nation's opioid abuse epidemic front and center in the public spotlight.
The SCPC also commended Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for their leadership in securing the inclusion of a key provision in the bill that both protects seniors' access to essential medications as well as recognizes long term care (LTC) pharmacies' already stringent oversight of controlled substances.
"SCPC thanks and congratulates the hard work of bipartisan Senators who have crafted landmark legislation which appropriately responds to the ravaging impact of opioid abuse destroying lives of every age, demographic and region across the nation," said Alan G. Rosenbloom, President of SCPC. "CARA strikes the right balance between meeting the stringent enforcement needs that protect our citizens and communities on the one hand, and that protect the needs and care of elderly patients on the other."
Rosenbloom specifically thanked Senator Toomey for working with the SCPC to recognize the unique challenges facing Part D beneficiaries in long-term care (LTC) facilities and the specialized pharmacies that serve them by including bill language exempting Part D beneficiaries in skilled nursing facilities and other long-term care settings from a proposed medication management "lock-in" provision. The SCPC has made the case that beneficiaries in these settings already have sufficient protections from drug abuse and diversion and should be exempted.
"We thank Senator Toomey for considering and acting upon our stated concerns regarding the need to exempt Medicare Part D beneficiaries in long-term care settings from 'lock-in' language," continued Rosenbloom. "This is a highly significant provision in that it specifically recognizes the unique characteristics of the long-term care patient population and the distinctions between specialized long-term care pharmacies and more common retail pharmacies -- particularly the additional requirements imposed on LTC pharmacies under Medicare rules."
Rosenbloom said the SCPC is pleased about its ongoing progress in educating Congress, federal regulators and the health policy community about the unique characteristics of LTC pharmacies, and the high acuity, seriously compromised Part D beneficiaries they serve.
"As was the case in 2015 when Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) recognized LTC pharmacies' unique characteristics during the '21st Century Cures' House debate so, too, has the Senate recognized that LTC pharmacies are a unique sector within the broader pharmacy space," he said. "We are pleased with our collective progress on the LTC pharmacy educational front, and will continue our efforts."
The SCPC represents companies that own and operate independent long-term care pharmacies (LTCPs) in 40 states, serving over 400,000 residents in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and assisted living facilities (ALFs) daily. Learn more at seniorcarepharmacies.org.
SOURCE Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition