WASHINGTON, DC (March 29, 2004) – The Long Term Care Pharmacy Alliance,whose members serve nursing home patients in the United States, received government approval Friday to offer prescription drug cards as part of a new program to improve access to medication for low-income nursing home residents.
The LTC Card, approved last week by the Centers for Medicare & MedicaidServices, will give qualified nursing home residents access to the $600 annual credit provided by the government for low-income Medicare beneficiaries.
The card is designed specifically to help meet the needs of nursing home residents who, according to the alliance, take an average of eight medications a day and often require special care and monitoring.The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of2003 allows qualified beneficiaries whose incomes are less than 135 percent of the federal poverty level to enroll in the temporary assistance program. The program may provide up to $600 per year toward the cost of medications until 2006, when a full prescription drug benefit takes effect for all Medicare beneficiaries.
The LTC Card is expected to be available in nursing homes nationwide through 2005. According to the pharmacy alliance, nursing home residents enrolled in the card will be able to obtain the allowable credit to help pay for prescription drugs, receive specialized care from long-term care pharmacists and take advantage of regular safety reviews to determine if any changes are needed in medications.
Eligibility for assistance is based solely on the nursing home resident’s annual income, the group said. Nursing homes will be required to confirm that the person is a Medicare beneficiary and his or her annual income is no more than $12,569 if single or $16,862 if married.The LTC Card is being offered by the alliance in conjunction with ACS State Healthcare, LLC.