NCPA Commends Medicare's Decision to Allow Community Pharmacies to Continue Providing Diabetes Testing Supplies to Seniors

Alexandria, VA - June 29, 2010

 

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed regulation Friday that would exempt community pharmacies from the upcoming bidding process for Medicare Part B diabetes testing supplies, along with instructions that exempt most independent community pharmacies from accreditation requirements. In response, National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Acting Executive Vice President and CEO Douglas Hoey, RPh, issued the following statement:

"Community pharmacists can be tremendous assets in the fight against diabetes. Initiatives such as the Asheville Project have demonstrated how local pharmacists can work with patients and physicians to improve health outcomes and lower health care costs.

"That's why Medicare is right to exempt community pharmacies from the bidding program for diabetes testing supplies. Otherwise, independent pharmacies could have been forced out of the program. They aren't able to command the same prices paid by large, national chains or mail order vendors. Further complicating matters, it's common for mail order customers to end up in independent pharmacies seeking instruction on how to use the testing supplies—care for which the local pharmacist is not compensated. We also appreciate the bipartisan support in Congress for this exemption, especially the efforts of U.S. Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.), who introduced H.R. 5235, the Medicare Access to Diabetes Supplies Act.

"This proposed regulation and Medicare's instructions exempting most independent community pharmacies from the accreditation process, both issued on Friday, are wide-ranging and have significant implications for pharmacies. NCPA will continue reviewing both proposals carefully and will respond more formally to the proposed regulation during the comment period. We look forward to continuing to work with CMS officials to ensure that community pharmacists can continue to play a vital role in helping Medicare's diabetes patients maximize their health while controlling costs."

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 22,700 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent an $88 billion health-care marketplace, employ over 65,000 pharmacists, and dispense over 40% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.
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