Drug News

ASHP and ISMP launch new national alert network for serious drug errors

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) of Bethesda, MD, and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) of Horsham, PA, launched in mid-December, 2009, a new national alert system to prevent medication errors. It' called the National Alert Network for Serious Medication Errors (NAN).

ISMP will disseminate the alerts through its usual communication avenues, and ASHP will send information to its network of health care practitioners.

Each alert will provide a description of the error, along with recommendations for preventing the same error. Organizations or individuals who are involved with the error will not be named, according to an ASHP media announcement.

The goal is that health care providers nationwide will use the alert's recommendations to ensure the medication error is avoided at their facilities, according to an ISMP news announcement.

ASHP officials predict there will be 2-4 alerts per year since only medication errors of the most serious nature will be communicated through NAN.

The IV Safety Summit brought ASHP and ISMP, along with national experts, together to discuss ways to improve medication safety, and NAN is a result of that meeting, according to ASHP's media release.

Hospitals serving the indigent will receive relief from a reporting rule

Change depends on each state's Medicaid

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a directive that eliminates the need of a controversial reporting policy, potentially saving hospitals millions of dollars in implementation costs.

CMS has notified state Medicaid programs that states may exempt hospitals from a federal mandate to collect national drug codes (NDCs) on physician-administered drugs if such drugs are billed at what the state's Medicaid plan defines as their purchasing cost, according to a news statement by the Safety Net Hospitals for Pharmaceutical Access (SNHPA) of Washington, DC. SNHPA represents about 500 safety-net hospitals.

SNHPA had sued CMS in 2008 to reverse the implementation of the 2007 CMS Medicaid regulation that mandated NDC reporting by hospitals.

CMS's clarification sent in October, 2009, to state Medicaid directors, states, in part, "States must collect National Drug Codes (NDCs) on claims submitted for physician-administered drugs in order for the states to bill manufacturers for rebates. Section 1927(j)(2) of the Social Security Act exempts certain hospitals from the rebate requirement as long as the hospitals bill Medicaid for covered outpatient drugs at no more than the 'hospital's purchasing costs for covered outpatient drugs (as determined under the State plan).'