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2019 in Review: Six Policies that Shaped Patient Access

Before closing the door on 2019, IfPA looks back at the trends that impacted patient access this year.

1. Patient-centered care took center stage.

The slow creep of one-size-fits-all policies spurred advocates to embrace patient-centered care with renewed gusto.  For the Partnership to Advance Cardiovascular Health, that meant endorsing a patient-centered approach to treating cardiovascular comorbidities.  For the National Coalition for Infant Health, it meant rejecting rigid rules about which at-risk infants and children qualify for RSV prophylaxis.  And for the Alliance for Patient Access’ Neurological Disease Working Group, it meant pushing for flexibility in Medicare requirements that long-term care facilities gradually reduce the dose of certain medications. 

Learn more:

VIDEO: Understanding Patient-Centered Care

GRAPHIC: Disease-Centered Care vs. Patient-Centered Care

2. Research exposed the dark effects of non-medical switching.

A national study from the Alliance for Patient Access painted an alarming picture of how non-medical switching impacts patients.  Study participants described struggling to focus at work, losing the ability to care for family members, facing new side effects – and even winding up in the hospital with complications from the insurer-preferred drug.  

Learn more:

VIDEO: Non-Medical Switching Hurts Patients

REPORT: A Study of the Qualitative Impact of Non-Medical Switching 

PODCAST: Sad, Sick & Switched

3. Part D’s out-of-pocket chaos came to a head.

Whether it’s out-of-pocket caps or out-of-pocket “smoothing,” policymakers’ 2019 efforts made one thing clear: Seniors need help managing Part D prescription drug expenses – now.  Without better policies in place, seniors face a tough choice: make sacrifices to cover their out-of-pocket costs, or sacrifice their own health.

VIDEO: Medicare Patients Need Out-of-Pocket Caps

FAST FACTS: Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage 

BLOG: “Smoothing” Cost Sharing Could Ease Seniors’ Burden

4. Patients & providers got schooled on ICER.

Who really decides if you – or your patient – can access prescribed medicine?  It may very well be a health economist. As the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review declared still more novel medicines not worth their cost, think tanks and advocacy groups educated patients on how ICER’s flawed methodology could make it harder to access treatment.

Learn more:

VIDEO: What’s Wrong with ICER?

VIDEO: Why Health Care Providers Should Care about ICER

FAST FACTS: The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review

5. Heart patients’ struggle busted myths about lower drug prices.

Lower drug prices mean better access for patients – or do they?  This year, heart patients learned the hard way that health plan designs plays a bigger role in access and out-of-pocket expenses than they ever imagined.

Learn more:

BLOG: When Lower Drug Prices Aren’t Enough

BLOG: A Tale of Two Drug Codes

6. Migraine clinicians fought back.

New migraine therapies brought elation, then frustration.  Health plans blocked access to the long-awaited treatments by restricting prescribers, undermining combination therapy and imposing arduous prior authorizations.  But migraine clinicians didn’t take those barriers lying down.

VIDEOS: Clinician Testimonials Speak to Access Barriers

VIDEO: My Migraine Patients’ Combination Therapy Battle 

BLOG: Chronic Migraine, Chronic Insurance Denials

Join us again January 7, 2020 for another year of insights on these and other health policy issues.  Happy New Year!

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