NCPA Commends Representatives Marion Berry and Walter Jones for Pressing CMS to Act on Part D Plans Circumventing of Prompt Pay Law

Alexandria, VA - June 07, 2010

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) praised U.S. Representatives Marion Berry (D-AR) and Walter Jones (R-NC) for urging the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to force all Medicare Part D prescription drug plans to fully comply with the prompt pay provision in the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Acts of 2008 (MIPPA) that went into effect on January 1, 2010. Berry and Jones were the provision's original authors and arenow urging CMS to use its regulatory power to stop "what appears to be the improper and illegal imposition of extraneous fees and charges on Part D network pharmacies." In response, Bruce T. Roberts, RPh, NCPA executive vice president and CEO, issued the following statement: 

"Representatives Marion Berry and Walter Jones are rightfully upset at those Medicare Part D plans responsible for what has been happening this year. They worked hard to get legislation that banned an unscrupulous business tactic of certain Part D plans. That is, deliberately lining their pockets by earning interest off the 'float' from delaying payment to pharmacies for prescription drug claims. Many independent pharmacies were forced to take out loans and lines of credits to maintain cash flow. For pharmacies that were already in a financially precarious position, the delayed payments were the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back as they went out of business. 

"Now, some Part D plans may once again be gaming the system by creating new requirements designed to essentially recoup the money they previously earned off the 'float'. For a number of pharmacies one headache has been replaced with another series of headaches in the form of unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles and fees. This is certainly not consistent with the spirit or intent of the new law, and for pharmacies it hinders their ability to do what they do best: help patients. That's why we applaud Berry and Jones for their action and hope CMS will act quickly. 

"NCPA first raised awareness about this issue in its own letter on March 4, 2010. If left unaddressed, the viability of some pharmacies will be further jeopardized, diminishing seniors' access to Part D prescription drugs. Those in underserved rural and urban communities without other health care options could be especially hard hit." 

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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