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Practice Transformation

Specialization in any health profession is primarily a function of the reality of ever?increasing scientific and technological developments. Debate regarding the need, types and value of specialization in pharmacy seem destined to be driven not by intra? or inter?professional debates within pharmacy, but by the needs, expectations and values of patients and health care systems. This podcast episode provides an opportunity to learn about pharmacy specialization from, among others, Edwin Webb, PharmD, MPH, FCCP, Brian L. Erstad, PharmD, FCCP, the authors of “A Brief History of Pharmacy Specialization in the US,” published in the Journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. (podcastJACCP)
A CMS final rule issued Dec. 21 makes it easier for states, payers and drugmakers to enter value-based purchasing arrangements for prescription drugs. Current regulations make it difficult for drugmakers to account for value-based arrangements in their Medicaid best-price reporting to CMS and discourage payers and manufacturers from payment arrangements based on the value of the drug, CMS said. The changes, which go into effect January 2022, could save up to $288 million in health care spending though 2025, according to CMS. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Evidence & Innovation

The vaccine rollout has been slower than expected; snags have ranged from overwhelmed phone lines to low holiday turnout, the New York Times reports. Many challenges have been addressed, but an important one remains: Persuading Americans to take the vaccine. Perhaps surprisingly, many health care workers are declining to receive it. For example, Gov. Mike DeWine reports that 60% of nursing home workers in Ohio have turned it down. Pete Van Runkle of the Ohio Health Care Association attributes resistance to misinformation and fear—something he hopes dissipates as workers see colleagues be vaccinated. (New York Times)
Burnout differs in fundamental ways from depression and anxiety; clinician and patient health depend on knowing the difference, according to research published in JAMA Network Open. “[B]urnout and depression are correlated but empirically distinct latent factors and from distinct networks and that emotional exhaustion and depersonalization form the core of the burnout construct, highlighting that the distinctions within the burnout construct might be of clinical importance,” they wrote. It has consequences for efficient diagnosis and delivery of adequate treatment options, which affect clinician well-being and effectiveness as well as patient outcomes. (JAMA Network Open)

Policy Solutions

U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake granted a temporary restraining order regarding the administration’s “most favored nation” rule that was supposed to go into effect Jan. 1. The demonstration would have tied Medicare outpatient drug costs to drug prices in several other countries. PhRMA and Association of Community Cancer Centers, among others, had sued to stop the policy. “The rule at issue threatens not just to harm the livelihoods of healthcare providers, but also to shutter community-based healthcare facilities, without which many patients may have to travel long distances to obtain medical care,” Blake wrote. (Modern Healthcare*)
CMS is considering adding 20 quality measures to some of Medicare’s quality and value-based payment programs, Modern Healthcare reports. All but three would have to be collected digitally. Shifting to digital measures is in line with the agency’s Meaningful Measures Framework, a 2017 initiative focused on tackling administrative burden. The proposed measures are part of CMS’s annual rule-making process where the agency selects a list of measures that are then reviewed by the National Quality Forum’s measure applications partnership. (Modern Healthcare*)
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In Case You Missed It!

CURA Health Policy Profiles™ is a newly-released comprehensive resource detailing the health care backgrounds and policy positions of 65 new members of the incoming Congress. It is available for free in both e-book and searchable database and includes the profiles of Diana Harshbarger (R-TN), a PharmD, owner of specialty pharmacy and member of the National Community Pharmacy Association, and Jerry Carl (R-AL), a specialty pharmacy business owner.
The Get The Medications Right Institute (GTMRx) workgroups have developed a set of Tools from Our Experts to advocate for medication management reform. These tools are designed to be useful resources for all stakeholders, and we believe these will be vital to optimize medication use through CMM in practice. We encourage you to share them, post them and use them to advocate for medication management reform. Get a sneak peek at these guidance documents here. (Note: In January, website enhancements will include a sortable feature.)
Primary care physicians face overwhelming pressure right now—and not just because of the pandemic. Even in the best of times, we ask too much from them. Instead of letting them be healers and diagnosticians, we make them responsible for every aspect of patient care. A large part of that responsibility is finding the right medication for the right patient. Not only is this a huge burden on the doctor—it’s also the wrong approach to medication management. We must address the burden and we must improve medication outcomes. After all, 73.9% of primary care visits involve medication prescribing. Read more here.
In a recent episode, GTMRx executive director Katie Capps appeared on GenXy’s Precision Insights Podcast. The series consists of inspiring conversations around precision medicine with industry thought leaders and innovators where they share the most cutting-edge technologies, processes and initiatives in precision and personalized medicine. ?Katie discussed some common myths around CMM, how it differs from MTM, how PGx can be used to optimize medication and how we can integrate PGx into the CMM process to reap genomic and personalized medicine’s full benefits. Be sure to listen? here.
In November, 475 GTMRx signing members registered to attend our four-part Member Feedback series. These events showcased the tools developed from 140+ GTMRx experts on the following topics: how we pay, practice, use diagnostics and integrate technology. These tools are soon-to-be released guidance documents your organization can use to advocate for reform. Learn more about the events and watch the recordings here.
AmazonSmile is an easy way for 0.5% of your qualified purchases go to the GTMRx Foundation at no cost to you. And signing up is simple—go to smile.amazon.com and select “Get the Medications Right Foundation” as your charity of choice. If you prefer to directly donate instead, you can do so here.
Adding the foundation on AmazonSmile will help us continue to provide no cost educational webinars, issue briefs, weekly news briefs and promote the need for transformation of our current system of medication use through social media campaigns.
The GTMRx Institute is supported by our Founding Funders, Executive Members and Strategic Partners.
  See past issues of our weekly news brief here
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