Alexandria, Va. - July 23, 2012
Today Bill Popomaronis, RPh, National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Vice President of LTC / HHC /NIPCO, testified at a public meeting held by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding the potential reduction in payments for diabetes supplies using the "inherent reasonableness" standard to the Medicare fee schedule amounts for non-mail order diabetes testing supplies. He warned the policy would produce financially unsustainable reimbursement cuts for independent community pharmacies that sell these valuable medical products that help ascertain blood glucose levels.
"Community pharmacists are indispensable to helping combat diabetes, whether it is the counseling they offer, the medications they dispense, the lifestyle modification classes they provide, or the wide variety of testing supplies they carry," said Popomaronis. "However, that dynamic will be harmed if these small business pharmacies are forced to walk away from a pricing structure for diabetic testing supplies that only a large self-warehousing chain pharmacy or mail order supplier can make work."
The policy comes on the heels of other impediments to selling diabetes testing supplies under Medicare Part B, as CMS has proposed burdensome and expensive requirements, while working with a secondary payer to receive slow reimbursements. In his testimony Popomaronis detailed the concerns that come with the "inherent reasonableness" standard, which include:
Popomaronis added, "Independent community pharmacists are working hard to provide the best care and access to beneficiaries while working with CMS to improve quality of care and drive down long-term costs. The facts are, with drastic cuts to reimbursement for diabetic testing supplies, beneficiaries will no longer have access to the care they need and deserve."
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent a $93 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 315,000 people, including 62,400 pharmacists. Independent community pharmacists are readily accessible medication experts who can help lower health care spending. They are committed to maximizing the appropriate use of lower-cost generic drugs and reducing the estimated $290 billion that is wasted annually by improper medication use. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.
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