Alexandria, VA - August 25, 2010
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has submitted comments suggesting modifications to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) proposed rule for the Medicare Part B program for 2011.
"NCPA wants to maintain quality care and access for the millions of seniors who use independent community pharmacies for vital Medicare Part B prescription drugs, supplies and services," said NCPA Acting Executive Vice President and CEO, Douglas Hoey, RPh. "NCPA's constructive, pragmatic remedies for a few financially and logistically troublesome aspects of the proposed rule would ensure those twin objectives continue."
NCPA's recommendations included the following:
Continue CMS' policy of excluding small, independent pharmacies from competitive bidding for diabetes testing supplies. The exemption preserves the ability of seniors to receive valuable face-to-face consultation about these products when purchasing them from a trusted, local pharmacist.
To preserve patient choice, it is equally important not to apply to independent pharmacies the prices established under any future national mail order bidding program. Independent community pharmacies do not have the volume and buying power of the diabetes testing supply business that large, mail order suppliers do, and would experience pressure to stop offering these products if forced to accept such reductions in reimbursement.
Amend the proposed definition of a "mail order item" because, as proposed, it would prevent NCPA members from delivering diabetes testing supplies to homebound seniors or temporarily shipping them to "snowbird" seniors who spend the winter months in warmer climates.
List pharmacists as approved providers of telehealth services for diabetes self-management training (DSMT) to help seniors in underserved rural communities. In the past year NCPA has entered into a partnership with the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) to help more independent community pharmacists become accredited to offer live, in-person DSMT services and there is no reason why community pharmacists should not be approved to provide those same DSMT services via telehealth.
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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