NCPA Commends Senators Baucus, Grassley for Urging Discretion in Enforcement of Medicare DMEPOS Accreditation Requirement

Alexandria, Va. - January 26, 2010

Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-IA) have sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urging "administrative discretion" in the enforcement of the Medicare Part B Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) accreditation requirement for pharmacies. In response, National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Executive Vice President and CEO, Bruce T. Roberts, RPh, issued the following statement:

"Two top Senators sent a bipartisan message to HHS Secretary Sebelius: Avoid disrupting seniors' ability to purchase essential durable medical equipment. 

"The Senators recognize the DMEPOS accreditation requirement is onerous, expensive, and duplicative for community pharmacies. Even those pharmacies that completed this initial round of accreditation face another round in a few years. Worst of all, the requirement singles out pharmacists while exempting 17 other medical professionals. 

"Senators Baucus and Grassley are part of a large, bipartisan consensus in Congress supportive of exempting pharmacies. Such a provision was included in both the Senate and House health care reform bills. Congress also overwhelmingly approved separate legislation to extend the deadline for accreditation from October 1 of last year to January 1 of this year in anticipation of Congress working its will in this matter. 

"Efforts to find a solution continue, which is why the letter's message remains critical to ensuring seniors don't lose access to supplies that help improve their health." 

The final two paragraphs of the Senator's letter succinctly make the argument: 

"Absent the use of administrative discretion in implementing the accreditation requirement, Medicare beneficiaries could lose access to diabetic test strips, canes, walkers, nebulizers, wound care, and other vital medical products. Beneficiaries in rural and underserved areas are particularly at risk for experiencing a reduction in access to these medical supplies. 

"We therefore respectfully request that you use discretion in implementing the accreditation requirement for pharmacies in a manner that preserves beneficiaries' access to medical supplies and equipment while Congress considers the best approach for addressing this issue."


A complete copy of the letter can be found here

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.
Ask Your Family Pharmacist TM