As the National Committee for Quality Assurance ponders precisely how a well-run accountable care organization ought to function, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores is urging policymakers to remember the role of pharmacists in care coordination and cost control.
Pharmacists' roles touted in accountable care organizations
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contains incentives and demonstration programs to encourage the concept of ACOs, which are intended to give providers incentives to deliver cheaper and more efficient care.
As envisioned in the reform law, ACOs would have providers shift away from episodic hospital-based care and toward population-based health that rewards providers for improving overall health in communities. However, the finer details of how ACOs would run have been left up to industry experts to discern.
The Alexandria, Va.-based Association of Chain Drug Stores said the draft of core principles for ACOs released by the NCQA doesn't place enough emphasis on the role pharmacists play in cost control and quality improvement.
In comments (PDF) to the NCQA, the association said model ACOs should include pharmacists on its list of key stakeholders, governing body members and patient-care teams. The association also urged the organization to declare medication therapy management as a core element of cost savings in ACOs.
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