Recognizing Rximpact Dayby Senator Jon Tester
Posted on 2013-03-12
TESTER. Madam President, as the cochair of the Senate Community
Pharmacy Caucus, I rise to recognize the fifth annual NACDS RxIMPACT
Day on Capitol Hill. This is a special day where we recognize
pharmacy's contribution to the American healthcare system. This year's
event, organized by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores,
takes place on March 13-14. Hundreds from the pharmacy community--
including practicing pharmacists, pharmacy school faculty and students,
State pharmacy leaders and pharmacy company executives--will visit
Capitol Hill. They will share their views with Congress about the
importance of supporting legislation that protects access to community
and neighborhood pharmacies and that utilizes pharmacists to improve
the quality and reduce the costs of providing health care.
Advocates from 37 States have travelled to Washington to talk about their contributions in over 50,000 community pharmacies nationwide. These important health care providers are here to urge Congress to recognize the value of pharmacists and protect access to these medication experts as a part of [[Page S1708]] our health care delivery system. And just as these providers travelled to meet with us, over 100 Members of Congress have toured a local pharmacy over the past 5 years.
Patients have always relied on their local pharmacist to meet their health care needs. The local pharmacist is a trusted, highly accessible health care provider deeply committed to providing accurate prescriptions, catching possible drug interactions and helping patients take medications as prescribed.
As demand for health care services continues to grow, pharmacists have expanded their role in health care delivery, partnering with physicians, nurses and other health care providers to meet their patients' needs. Innovative services provided by pharmacists do even more to improve patient health care. Pharmacists are highly valued by those that rely on them most--those in rural and underserved areas, as well as older Americans, and those struggling to manage chronic diseases. Pharmacy services improve patients' quality of life and health care affordability. By helping patients take their medications effectively and providing preventive services, pharmacists help avoid more costly forms of care later. Pharmacists also help patients identify strategies to save money, such as understanding their pharmacy benefits, using generic drugs and obtaining 90-day supplies of prescription drugs from local pharmacies. The importance of medication adherence and the effectiveness of local pharmacists in delivering patient care is resonating with policymakers.
Pharmacists are the Nation's most accessible healthcare providers. In many communities, especially in rural areas, the local pharmacist is a patient's most direct link to health care. Eightly-six percent of rural Americans reside within a 10-mile radius of a sole community pharmacy. Usually these pharmacists are substantially closer than their physicians. Pharmacists are one of the most trusted professionals. Pharmacy has a long history of receiving, filling, billing and dispensing prescriptions in tandem with patient counseling. Utilizing their specialized education, pharmacists also play a major role in medication therapy management, disease-state management, immunizations, health care screenings, and other health care services designed to improve patient health and reduce overall health care costs.
As the face of neighborhood health care, pharmacies across the Nation offer these and other cost saving programs and services to patients. For more than a century, pharmacies and pharmacists have made a difference in the lives of Montanans and all Americans through these important patient care services, and it is critical we work to support their unique contributions.
As we refine health care reform and seek new strategies to improve health and reduce costs, pharmacists will play a critical role. They help patients adhere to their medications and that improves health outcomes and reduces the risks of adverse events and unnecessary costly hospital readmissions and emergency room visits. Pharmacists as providers with a comprehensive understanding of a patient's medical needs, are uniquely qualified to work with patients to help manage all of their medications and play an essential role in helping them take their medications as prescribed. Unfortunately, only one half of Americans living with chronic diseases adhere to their drug regimens. This patient non-adherence costs the Nation's economy an estimated $290 billion each year, not to mention the avoidable loss of quality of life for patients and their loved ones. Congress recognized the important role of local pharmacists when it included a Medication Therapy Management, MTM, benefit in Medicare Part D. As we have seen the increasing value of this benefit in improving patient health outcomes, I support community pharmacy's efforts to strengthen the MTM benefit so it is available for seniors and others struggling with chronic conditions and other illnesses.
Today, I celebrate the value of pharmacy and support efforts to protect access to neighborhood pharmacies and utilize pharmacies to improve the quality and reduce the costs of health care. In recognition of the fifth annual NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill, I would like to congratulate pharmacy leaders, pharmacists, students, and executives and the pharmacy community represented by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores for their contributions to the good health of the American people.