Washington, D.C., April 25, 2013 — American Heart Association President Donna Arnett, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., issued the following comments today on the “Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2013,” sponsored by Senators Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Ron Kind, D-Wis. The legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate:
“This important bipartisan legislation will provide support for those not achieving optimum medication adherence while saving millions of dollars in healthcare spending.
Studies have shown that many patients with chronic conditions fail to adhere to their medications, resulting in further complications and added costs to the healthcare system. For example, one in three, or 78 million adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure, but only about 46 percent have the condition adequately controlled. Medication therapy management programs are an important intervention that can improve medication adherence. Research indicates these programs can lead to better health outcomes, reduce the risk of adverse events and help control healthcare costs. For example, it is estimated that 46,000 deaths may be avoided each year if 70 percent of patients with high blood pressure got the treatment they need.
In order to be included in the current medication therapy management program, an individual must have multiple chronic conditions, be on multiple drugs and exceed a cost threshold to the Medicare Part D program of $3,000.The Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act would increase access to medication therapy management services for Medicare Part D beneficiaries who suffer from just one chronic disease – like high blood pressure – ultimately improving healthcare quality and reducing overall healthcare costs. This is critical because just one condition can have a major health impact. Consider that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has characterized high blood pressure as “public health enemy No. 2,” after tobacco.