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LTC Pharmacy News
January 2017
The healthcare industry is in the beginning of massive change and the long term care pharmacy industry will be affected by this change. LTCPharmacynews.com is your guide to understanding this process, the legislation and regulation that will implement this change and the key to adjusting your approach to succeeding in this new environment. We will try to not just tell you the "what" of this change, but the "how" as well.
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Nursing Home Policy Priorities in 2017
The new year is upon us, and with it another year of triumph, near misses and major disappointments. So, what keeps our friends in the nursing home industry awake at night?

Take a look at Elise's take on the major policy issues facing the industry in the months ahead. 
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Legislative Highlights
The 115th Congress convened for the first time on January 3rd, with the customary fanfare. The House chamber, filled with yawning children, blissfully unaware of historical significance, and new members, doing their best to appear serious and humble.
The pomp, always ethereal, vanished faster than normal when the House Republicans attempted a clumsy revamping of the ethics process and were soon forced to backtrack when the President-elect criticized them on Twitter.

Committee Assignments
The House Energy and Commerce Committee will be chaired by Rep. Greg Walden, of Oregon. Rep. Walden is reportedly being rewarded for his stellar performance as Chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm of House Republicans. Walden was chosen over John Shimkus (R-IL), who had seniority.

With the retirement of Joe Pitts (R-PA), the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee will now be chaired by Rep. Mike Burgess (R-TX), a physician and respected healthcare policy hand.  Brett Guthrie (R-KY) will continue in his role as vice chairman. Chairman Walden posted the subcommittee assignments on the committee website.

The House Ways and Means Committee will continue to be chaired by Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and the chairman of the health subcommittee will be Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-OH)   
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Federal Agency News
FDA Publishes Final Repackaging Guidance
Following a lengthy review of industry comments through May of 2015, FDA published the final guidance on the repackaging of certain human drug products by pharmacies and outsourcing facilities.

Industry concerns with the original draft revolved around the proposed requirement that FDA would limit pre-packaged bingo cards to a 14-day supply in a pharmacy. The final guidance does not include this provision, but focuses more closely on ensuring that repackaged drugs have appropriate labeling for "beyond use dates".

CMS Community First Choice Letter
CMS issued a letter to State Medicaid Directors on December 30th providing guidance on the implementation of the Community First Choice (CFC) option for Medicaid recipients in need of institutional care. The CFC offers states the ability to offer personal care services and supports to individuals in a home and community-based setting. 

The program comes with an enhanced federal medical assistance percentage match of 6 percent and requires the state to submit a waiver request. 

Home Health Agency Final Rule Released
CMS announced the publication of the final rule on Home Health Agency conditions of participation. This final rule is the first major re-write of Home Health rules in more than 20 years and focuses on patient rights, care coordination and documentation. Please see CMS News Release for more information.
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Go to the LTC Pharmacy website for regular updates on what's coming from CMS, including proposed and final rules, new programs, news from Medicare and Medicaid and updated Medicare Learning resources. Go there now.

The FDA often updates its website with drug safety information, news about drug approvals and implementation information on laws, such as the Drug Quality and Security Act. Keep checking our site for the latest news from FDA.

THE HHS Office of Inspector General publishes audit reports and results of investigations on federal health programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid. Congress frequently looks at these reports when deciding where to focus on oversight and legislation. Keep in touch here.

The Government Accountability Office is the official investigative arm of Congress and publishes important reports that often guide the national conversation. We keep track of announcements coming out of GAO, so you don't have to. All you need to do is click here.


News Items of Interest
Seniors not immune to opioid addiction
Kaiser Health News reports on the increasing incidence of seniors with dependence on opioid drugs. As seniors develop health problems, especially those requiring surgery, they have more exposure to drugs that, if not properly monitored, can cause dependency.

Incremental Fixes Won't Save The US Healthcare System
Oliver Wyman Health's Terry Stone argues that our healthcare system can no longer count on incremental improvements; we must embrace a system that encourages efficiency and collaboration and makes it increasingly difficult to continue the physician-centric model to which we have become accustomed. 

Hospitals and Post-Acute Care Networks
Modern Healthcare reports on the necessity for hospitals to use data to create robust post-acute care networks when considering bundling arrangements. The story focuses on St. Luke's University Health Networks and features guidance developed by Premier to help hospitals to choose post-acute providers. 

Industry Trends for Drug Wholesalers
Drug Channels publisher Adam Fein, Ph.D, provides his insights into the trends affecting drug wholesalers in 2017, including the impact of narrow pharmacy networks and industry consolidation. 

EHR's Slow Uptake in LTC
McKnight's reports on the relatively slow uptake of electronic health records in the long-term care community. Much of this can be attributed to lack of staff and resources. Facilities also struggle with choosing the systems that best communicate with other providers and require less extensive training. 

Peterson Kaiser Health System Tracker 
Looking for a source for big-picture data on health care? Well, this might not be it, but it's pretty close. A collaboration between The Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Peterson Kaiser Health System Tracker provides information on "trends, drivers and issues that impact the performance of the system". Take a look.

Patent Expirations in 2o17
Did you know that 22 drugs will lose patent protection in 2017? Well, now you do.
If you're a sucker for infographs (I am!), take a look at this one from Dickson Data. According to Dickson, the 22 drugs with expiring patents are equal in number to the 22 drugs approved by FDA in 2016. Coincidence???

Telemedicine in Long Term Care
A long-term care company in Kentucky has found a sweet spot for telemedicine in its facilities that is propelling growth, according to an article in mHealth Intelligence.
 
AARP Wants to Know Who's Innovating in Med Management
Med City announced that it had partnered with the mega senior organization AARP to identify companies that are innovating in medication management for the 55+ population. They have identified nominees, and the voting closed in late December. I guess we'll have to wait to find out who won.

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