LTC Cards - Long Term Care Pharmacy Alliance

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Long Term Care Cards: Resident Benefits

CMS Approval Date: mm/yyyy Date of last update: 08/2004
Information may not be current

How will the LTC Card meet the needs of nursing facility residents?

The LTC Card is offered by the Long Term Care Pharmacy Alliance (LTCPA), whose members provide special care through highly trained and qualified long-term care pharmacists with particular expertise in managing the many complex medications prescribed to nursing facility residents. A specially trained pharmacist's experience can help a nursing facility monitor the safety of its residents, who often take as many as eight different medications a day.

Are there any special services associated with the LTC Card?

LTCPA-affiliated pharmacists provide a host of specialized services for nursing facilities and their residents, and the LTC Card will include these services. As a standard practice, these specialized services include implementation of drug regimen reviews (to analyze the medications a resident is taking) at least once every 30 days, and often more frequently. Based on these reviews, LTCPA pharmacists then make professional recommendations about the specific medications a resident is taking, helping nursing facilities identify the need to:

    • Change the dosage of a drug or its dosage form
    • Discontinue a drug if there is no demonstrated medical need
    • Substitute a different drug for one currently being prescribed
    • Add a new drug to better control a medication

Will the LTC Card be available in nursing facilities across the country?

Yes, the LTC Card will be widely available. The LTCPA's member companies (Kindred Pharmacy Services, Omnicare, NeighborCare and PharMerica) serve three out of every five nursing facility residents in the nation, and the LTCPA maintains a network of nearly 500 pharmacies associated with nursing facilities across the country.

Do nursing facility residents have to pay a fee to use the LTC Card?

The card's annual enrollment fee of $30 will be paid by the federal government through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).


Long-Term Care Pharmacies vs. Retail Pharmacies

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Long term care pharmacies that serve people who live in nursing facilities and assisted living facilities are vastly different from traditional retail pharmacies where most people obtain their prescription medications. Nursing facility residents have specialized medication needs that can change frequently, and because of their complex clinical conditions, such as poor absorption and multiple diagnoses, they frequently take multiple medications and require access to specially trained geriatric pharmacists.

Furthermore, the nursing facility resident's needs are far more complex and demanding, sometimes requiring multiple deliveries of medications per day, including emergency orders during non-traditional business hours. Long-term care pharmacies must also support the regulatory environment in these healthcare facilities with appropriate packaging that promotes accurate medication administration and resident safety. As a result, pharmacies that serve this population must be designed to meet these unique needs, as illustrated below:



Limited hours of operation

24-hour, 7 day-a-week, 365-day-a-year emergency service required to meet residents' round-the-clock needs

Medicines dispensed to walk-in patients at the pharmacy counter

Medicines must be delivered to nursing facilities


Medicines packaged in traditional bottles and vials

Special packaging needed to aid nursing staff in safely administering medications and tracking controlled substance medicines, such as morphine

No need for an emergency drug supply

Small emergency supply of medicines for last-minute immediate needs must be maintained, checked and periodically replaced

Limited patient services

Extensive pharmacy services provided, such as frequent safety reviews (to determine if a medication should change) because residents' conditions change more often

No service for indigent patients

All residents of a nursing facility must be served, including low-income residents, regardless of their ability to pay

Long Term Care Pharmacy Alliance
1025 Connecticut Ave., NW  Suite 1000  Washington, DC 20036  
CMS Approval: 08/2004
Material ID: 4582

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