LTC Pharmacy News
November 2020
LTC Pharmacy Directory!
LTC Pharmacy now features a long-term care pharmacy directory. The directory includes pharmacies that list themselves as primarily long-term care.

We continue to add new listings and now have 2313 pharmacies in the directory. Please check out the new directory, claim your listing and see if your pharmacy is included.

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CMS Publishes Plan Info for 2021
Part D plan landscape tables has been published by CMS. LTC Pharmacies should be interested in the plans selected by CMS to be eligible for low-income subsidy beneficiaries with no premiums. These are the plans dual eligible beneficiaries will be auto-assigned.

Here is a table of those plans for 2021 alongside the 2020 plans. Use this to see how many plan assignments will be affected when beneficiaries currently enrolled in 2020 plans will be switched to new plans in January.

Federal Updates
HHS Confirms that Independent Pharmacies are Part of the Vaccine Distribution Program
HHS Secretary Alex Azar has confirmed that independent pharmacies will have access to supplies of COVID-19 vaccines when the products are approved and available for distribution. The vaccines will be accessed through networks representing independent pharmacies and regional chains.

FDA Issues Final MOU on Shipping Compounded Drugs
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a final version of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between states and the federal government to monitor interstate shipments of compounded drugs. Pharmacy organizations have worked with FDA for years to persuade the agency to adopt a MOU that creates reasonable standards for states to monitor drug shipments.

Many of these organizations expressed disappointment at the final MOU, claiming that the FDA appears not to have adopted any of its recommendations.

CMS Issues Alert on Thanksgiving Visits at Nursing Homes
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, CMS has issued an alert to Nursing Homes, Residents, and Resident Family Members advising them not to leave the facility. The agency advises facility managers not to plan parties or other gatherings that may increase opportunities for the infection to spread.

CMS: Nursing Home COVID-19 Training Lagging
CMS issued a press release praising the few nursing homes where 50 percent or more of the staff have completed CMS training on managing COVID-19 in their facilities. The number of facilities that have achieved this record amount to 12.5 percent of all nursing homes.

CMS urges the facilities that have not made progress on completing this training to make it a priority.

DEAIssues Proposed Rule on Suspicious Orders of Controlled Substances
The Drug Enforcement Administration filed a proposed rule on the identification and management of orders received for controlled substances that may be suspicious. The proposed rule includes definitions and steps to be taken to demonstrate due diligence in determining legitimacy of the order.

Characterization of  COVID-19 in Assisted Living Facilities
By October 15, 2020, in 39 states with available data, 22% of ALFs reported one or more cases of COVID-19 among residents and staff members. Among ALF residents with COVID-19, 21% died, compared with 3% who died among the general population with COVID-19.

Medicare Advantage Plans Offering Supplemental Benefits up 64% for 2021
CMS expanded Medicare Managed Care Plans ability to expand supplemental benefit offerings beginning in 2018. While plans were initially slow to take advantage of this opportunity, a recent survey showed that plans offering such benefits increase by 64 percent for 2021

Everything Else
Frontline Health Workers Could Get COVID Vaccine in one Month
Leading vaccine researchers expect to submit data to the FDA within the next few days and Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, believes the first round of vaccines will be ready for distribution to healthcare workers in late December

LTC Policy Expert Predicts New Wave of NH Regulation
David Grabowski, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School Professor and noted LTC expert, predict that lessons learned from dealing with the coronavirus will result in a new era of federal regulation for nursing homes.

Among these changes, Grabowski sees a focus on payment policy reforms, staff pay and increased transparency. He believes nursing homes may finally get payment models that more closely reflect the cost of operating effectively and efficiently in this new environment.

Amazon Launches Amazon Pharmacy
The online shopping juggernaut announced the opening of Amazon Pharmacy, where consumers can order their prescriptions through a mobile app. Free 2-day delivery is available for Amazon Prime members and substantial discounts are available for patients without insurance.

AARP Publishes LTSS State Scorecard
AARP has published its annual state scorecard on Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS). The report is an attempt to look at state performance in providing LTSS services from the perspective of users and their families.

Take a look to see which states scored high and low in this evaluation.

Time to Revamp Long-Term Care?
COVID-19 and its impact on nursing homes dictate that it's time to consider a drastic overhaul of the nursing home care model.
The COVID crisis exposed the vulnerabilities of the current system by increasing the need for medical care for residents and limiting the ability of family members to engage in the care of their loved ones in the facility.

Milliman Posts Infographics on Most and Least-Used Preventive Services
Milliman has posting interesting infographics illustrating the most and least frequently used preventive services for individual, group, Medicare and Medicaid markets.