December 05, 2004

Adjusting To The Medicare Drug Prescription Plan

The Robert Pear from the New York Times has published a piece opining that confusion will be caused by the fact that the Medicare Drug Prescription Plan may cause confusion for nursing home residents as a result of the fact that residents will be allowed to choose between two or more government subsidized plans. The article states:

The premise of the law is that Medicare beneficiaries will carefully compare these plans and enroll in the ones that best meet their needs.

But more than one-third of nursing home residents have Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia, so they cannot easily compare the costs and benefits of different plans.

Bush administration officials said they were seeking ways to meet the special needs of nursing home residents. Dr. Mark McClellan, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said the administration would ensure that beneficiaries had access to "all medically necessary drugs."


Pharmacists express dismay at the prospect that nursing home patients will be in different drug plans covering different medicines.

"If nursing homes have to deal with multiple formularies from multiple prescription drug plans, that will result in chaos and an increased potential for medication errors," said Thomas Clark, policy director for the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, whose 7,000 members specialize in drug care for the elderly.

My suggestion is to review your policies and procedures to deal with the issue. If you have a plan in place in anticipation of these issues, it is doubtful that chaos and medication errors will be the rule rather than the exception at your facility.