GAO

Senators Send Letter to HHS, Concerned About Antipsychotics

in Medication

According to an article from Politico, "A bipartisan pair of senators wants to know what HHS is doing to stop improper prescribing of antipsychotic drugs to seniors with dementia and how much taxpayers are shelling out to cover the cost of these drugs through Medicare Part D.

GAO

GAO Report: Government Should Expand Efforts to Reduce Antipsychotic Drug Use in Other Settings

in Medication

In a report released on Monday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that antipsychotic drugs are frequently prescribed to older adults with dementia. GAO's analysis found that among Medicare Part D enrollees with dementia living outside of a nursing center in 2012, about 14 percent were prescribed an antipsychotic.

New Government Report Shows Continuing Decline in Antipsychotic Use Among Long-Stay Skilled Nursing Facility Residents

in Medication

Washington, D.C.A new report issued by the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes — a public-private coalition under the direction of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) — shows a greater-than-expected decrease in the national prevalence of anti-psychotic medication use in long-stay nursing home residents over the last three years.

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CDC Provides Immunization Update Information

in Clinical, Medication

The updated 2015 recommended Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) adult immunization schedule is available online on CDC’s website and was published February 3, 2015 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Image 80

Request for SNF Participation in Research Study about Antibiotic Improvement Activities

in Medication

Investigators in the Division of Infectious Disease at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (Christopher Crnich) and the University of Nebraska Medical Center (Philip Smith) are seeking participants for a survey study of nursing home antibiotic stewardship practices. The objective of this study is to gain a better understanding of the types of practices nursing homes are currently using to improve antibiotic use in residents of Wisconsin and Nebraska long-term care facilities (LTCFs).

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Safe Diabetes Care: Insulin Pens are ONE Person Only

in Medication

In honor of American Diabetes Month, CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog features Ann Albright, Director of the Division of Diabetes Translation. In the U.S. alone, more than 29 million people have diabetes, and 86 million adults have prediabetes.

DHS Building

Wisconsin Ranked 4th Lowest In The Nation In The Use Of Antipsychotic Medications In Nursing Home Residents

in Medication

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services sent out the following press release earlier this week... MADISON — The Department of Health Services today announced that Wisconsin is now ranked the fourth lowest in the nation in the use of antipsychotic medications in nursing home residents. Overall, Wisconsin’s nursing home resident use of antipsychotics is 14.6% compared to the national average of 19.4%. Wisconsin’s ranking was released in a quarterly report issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Antipsychotic Drug Use In Nursing Homes: Trend Update From CMS

in Medication

The National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes is committed to improving the quality of care for individuals with dementia living in nursing homes. The Partnership has a mission to deliver health care that is person-centered, comprehensive, and interdisciplinary, with a specific focus on protecting residents from being prescribed antipsychotic medications, unless there is a valid, clinical indication and a systematic process to evaluate each individual’s need.

DEA

Hydrocodone Combination Products

in Medication

On August 22, 2014 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) published its final rule in the Federal Register rescheduling hydrocodone combination products from Schedule III to Schedule II of the Federal Controlled Substances Act. The federal scheduling action was effective October 6, 2014.

DEA

DEA Final Rule on Disposal of Controlled Substances

in Medication

On September 8, 2014 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) released their final rule regarding the disposal of controlled substances. Changes go into effect October 9, 2014.  This rule governs the secure disposal of controlled substances by registrants and ultimate users. These regulations expand the options available to collect controlled substances from ultimate users for the purpose of disposal, including: take-back events, mail-back programs, and collection receptacle locations.  Significant changes are made in this final rule which the DEA states are to help ensure that long term care centers have adequate disposal options.

AHCA/NCAL

Skilled Nursing Care Centers Reach Milestone in Reducing Antipsychotic Use in Residents with Dementia

in Medication

AHCA/NCAL Released the following press release this afternoon... Alongside Administration officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the American Health Care Association (AHCA) today announced the attainment of a nationwide goal to safely reduce the off-label use of antipsychotic medications in America’s skilled nursing care centers. As part of CMS’ Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes (Partnership) and AHCA’s Quality Initiative, skilled nursing care centers reached a goal to reduce the use of antipsychotics by 15 percent, achieving a 15.1 percent reduction between the end of 2011 and 2013. The achievement improves the lives of approximately 40,100 nursing center residents living with dementia who are no longer receiving these medications as a result of the profession’s efforts.

CMS Issues Revised Guidance: Medicare Part D Rejection of Drug Coverage for Hospice Residents

in Medication

WHCA/WiCAL members need to be aware of problems that have recently surfaced in the wake of a recent CMS change to Medicare Part D drug coverage for residents receiving hospice care.

WHCA/WiCAL Offers Webinar on Setting up a Prescription Drug Formulary

in Medication

WHCA/WiCAL is pleased to offer a webinar on that will assist members in setting up a prescription drug formulary in their facility. The webinar will be offered NEXT WEEK on Wednesday, May 7, at 10 a.m. and will be presented by Greg Milanich, PharmD, FASCP, Heartland Healthcare Services; and Kay Weidner, RPh, Extendicare. Tom Moore, WHCA's Executive Director will facilitate the webinar. These experts will provide all of the necessary details for you to establish a prescription drug formulary in your facility.

Gov. Walker Signs SNF Formulary Bill into Law

in Medication

On Wednesday morning, Gov. Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 251, the Skilled Nursing Drug Formulary Bill, into law. The new law, Act 294, allows a skilled nursing facility’s quality assessment and assurance committee, which includes a physician, pharmacist, the facility’s director of nursing, and other facility staff, to create a list of medications the facility can use for resident care. The use of formularies will reduce delays in seeking medications for new orders, and will help facilitate more efficient medication management for improved resident safety.

Family Members – Critical Allies in Reducing Antipsychotic Use

in Medication

Many long-term care residents with dementia who are on antipsychotic medications were first prescribed these drugs before ever coming through our doors. They may have first been placed on the medications while in a hospital stay, or while living in their own homes and being supported by family caregivers. Reducing the off-label use of these medications in our centers is an effort we have embraced across our field and we are seeing significant progress. But it’s not something that we can accomplish without engaging and garnering the support of many other stakeholders – our nursing staff, physicians, and our residents’ families chief among them.

Assembly Passes Nursing Home Formulary Bill -- SB 251

in Medication

Late Tuesday afternoon, the State Assembly unanimously passed Senate Bill 251, relating to allowing "the quality assessment and assurance committee of a nursing facility to establish written guidelines or procedures for making therapeutic alternate drug selections for certain purposes if the committee members include a pharmacist."

CMS Proposes changes for Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Benefit Programs

in Medicare, Medication

On Jan. 6, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule with comment period that would strengthen protections, improve health care quality and reduce costs for Medicare beneficiaries with private Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D prescription drug plans in contract year (CY) 2015. Among the technical and program changes this rule proposes are new criteria for identifying protected classes of drugs, revisions that promote competition in Part D plans, changes to the regulatory definition of negotiated prices, and changes to ensure that plan choices are meaningful for beneficiaries.

Contact Your State Representative to Urge Them to Vote for SB 251, the Nursing Home Formulary Bill

in Legislation & Advocacy, Medication

The Wisconsin State Assembly has scheduled Senate Bill 251 for a vote on Tuesday, January 14 -- next week. This legislation, which WHCA/WiCAL members and staff have been working on in different forms for several years, would allow skilled nursing facilities to establish their own prescription drug formularies.

AHCA Quality Initiative

AHCA Members 2% Away from Antipsychotic Goal!

in Quality Assurance, Medication

The data is in for the second quarter of 2013, and AHCA members are once again demonstrating their steadfast commitment to the Quality Initiative goals. In the area of antipsychotics, AHCA members are surpassing the entire nation in both the percentage of residents currently using antipsychotics and the rate at which use has declined. AHCA members have reduced its use by 13.0%, just 2% points shy of the Quality Initiative’s 15% reduction goal. With 30-day hospital readmissions, AHCA members are right on par with the nation.

AHCA Quality Initiative

AHCA Members 2% Away from Antipsychotic Goal!

in Quality Assurance, Medication

The data is in for the second quarter of 2013, and AHCA members are once again demonstrating their steadfast commitment to the Quality Initiative goals. In the area of antipsychotics, AHCA members are surpassing the entire nation in both the percentage of residents currently using antipsychotics and the rate at which use has declined. AHCA members have reduced its use by 13.0%, just 2% points shy of the Quality Initiative’s 15% reduction goal. With 30-day hospital readmissions, AHCA members are right on par with the nation.

Dr. Charles Gokoo

Workshop on Pharmacogenomics Coming Up in 2014

in Medication

WHCA/WiCAL is pleased to announce that the Association will offer a series of workshops on “Pharmacogenomics, the New Standard of Care in Medication Management." The workshops will be held in the early part of 2014. Stay tuned to CareConnection and www.whcawical.org for dates, registration other information on the workshops as it becomes available.

Nursing Home Formulary Bill Advances

in Legislation & Advocacy, Medication

On October 8, the Wisconsin State Senate unanimously passed SB 251, which permits Wisconsin nursing homes to develop and adopt medication formularies. On Wednesday of this week, the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long Term Care held a public hearing on Assembly Bill 292 - the Assembly companion bill to SB 251. 

Senate Approves Formulary Bill

in Legislation & Advocacy, Medication

Earlier today, the Wisconsin State Senate passed SB 251, relating to therapeutic alternate drug selections in nursing homes, on a voice vote with all Senators voting in favor of the measure. The bill, introduced by Senator Rick Gudex (R-Fond du Lac) and others, was messaged to the State Assembly for its consideration and review.

Senate Committee Approves SB 251

in Medication

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee, Chaired by Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa), voted unanimously (5-0) yesterday to recommend Senate Bill 251 for passage. The measure, relating to therapeutic alternative drug selections in nursing homes, has been sent to the Senate Organization Committee for scheduling for Senate floor debate.

Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Nursing Home Formulary Legislation

in Reimbursement News, Medication

This Wednesday, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee held a public hearing on Senate Bill 251, which permits Wisconsin nursing homes to develop and adopt medication formularies. Wisconsin law, written in the 1980s, presently restricts the use of formularies to the hospital setting. SB 251 essentially updates current law to reflect the evolution of the state’s health care delivery system and affords nursing homes, their residents and professional staff the opportunity to realize the enhanced quality of care, resident safety, and cost savings formularies can facilitate.

CDC Logo

2013–14 Flu Vaccine Now Available

in Medication

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that manufacturers have begun shipping flu vaccines for the 2013–2014 U.S. season. Between 135 million and 139 million doses of vaccine are being produced.

CDC Logo

CDC Landmark Report On Antibiotic Resistance Categorizes Threats And Offers Recommendations

in Medication

In an effort to raise awareness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releasedAntibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013”—the first report on antibiotic resistance and potential consequences of inaction.

FDA logo

FDA Says Use Proper Disposal Method For Fentanyl Patch

in Medication

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants NCAL members to be aware of the proper disposal of fentanyl transdermal system “patch” (Duragesic and its generic).

Companion Nursing Home Formulary Bills Introduced

in Legislation & Advocacy, Medication

Senator Rick Gudex (R-Fond du Lac) and Representative Mike Endsley (R-Sheboygan) have introduced companion bills would enable skilled nursing facilities in Wisconsin to established written guidelines or procedures to create drug formularies in their facilities. Since their introduction, 2013 Senate Bill 251 and Assembly Bill 292 have been respectively referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and the Assembly Aging and Long-Term Care Committee.

AHCA

AHCA Members Decrease Antipsychotic Use, Beating National Trends

in Quality Assurance, Medication

Washington, D.C. – In conjunction with new data released from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the American Health Care Association (AHCA) today announced similar data highlighting the progress of its skilled nursing members in reducing the off-label use of antipsychotic medications. AHCA member centers are reducing the use of these medications at a higher rate than the national average, with a 10.5 percent reduction since the end of 2011, compared to a 9.1 percent reduction nationally.

HHS logo

August Is National Immunization Awareness Month

in Federal News, Medication

August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). This annual national health observance provides an opportunity to highlight the need for improving national immunization levels. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list influenza and pneumococcal as especially serious diseases for adults 65 and older. Accordingly, CMS asks health care professionals to encourage Medicare beneficiaries to stay current on their immunizations; especially seasonal influenza, pneumococcal and hepatitis B for those who are at risk. Medicare Part B covers these immunizations and their administration for qualified beneficiaries.

Federal register

Adult Immunization - Request for Comments

in Medication

The National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) has developed a draft report with recommendations for public comment, posted in the August 1, 2013, Federal Register

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FDA -- Nova Max Glucose Test Strips: Recall - May Report False, Abnormally High Blood Glucose Result

in Clinical, Safety, Medication

The following alert was sent out by the Food and Drug Administration earlier this week: Nova Max Glucose Test Strips: Recall - May Report False, Abnormally High Blood Glucose Result.