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PCMA Applauds Secretary Leavitt's Support for Requiring E-Prescribing in Medicare
Date:2/6/2008

Leavitt: 'It saves lives. It saves money. And it's time.'

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In another sign of the growing momentum for electronic prescribing (e-prescribing), Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt testified today before the Senate Finance Committee that e-prescribing standards and technology are in place and that "it's time" to adopt the technology in Medicare.

When questioned by Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) on the adoption of e-prescribing in Medicare, Secretary Leavitt said: "It saves lives. It saves money. And it's time."

"PCMA applauds Secretary Leavitt's continued leadership in advocating for adopting e-prescribing in Medicare," said The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) President and CEO Mark Merritt. "This bipartisan issue is generating support from policymakers who want to improve health care quality and lower costs."

In December, the bipartisan "Medicare Electronic Medication and Safety Protection (E-MEDS) Act of 2007" that would require e-prescribing in Medicare was introduced by Senate Finance Committee Members Kerry and John Ensign, (R-Nev.). Companion legislation was introduced in the House by Representatives Allyson Schwartz, (D-Penn.) and Jon Porter, (R-Nev.). Both bills are supported by a broad coalition of consumers, unions, businesses, purchaser groups, and other prescription drug stakeholders.

E-prescribing improves safety by alerting a doctor when a drug about to be prescribed could dangerously interact with other medications that a patient is already taking. E-prescribing also eliminates medication errors that result from sloppy handwritten prescriptions that are illegible at the pharmacy counter.

Last year, PCMA launched an ad campaign featuring Institute of Medicine (IOM) expert panelist J. Lyle Bootman that called on policymakers to require e-prescribing in Medicare "before more people die." Dr. Bootman co-chaired an IOM
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SOURCE Pharmaceutical Care Management Association
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