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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Following the announcement from several major chains on Thursday that their respective pharmacy operations would provide 30-day prescriptions to newly-enrolled health exchange patients at no charge while they wait for their prescription cards, the National Community Pharmacists Association on Friday announced that many of its constituents have historically adopted similar patient-friendly practices.
“Helping patients sort through new or revised health insurance coverage is business-as-usual for independent community pharmacies year-round, and especially each January," said Douglas Hoey, NCPA CEO. "Now more than ever that is the case with the advent of these new health plans." he said. “While health plans are the payer of first resort for the newly insured, most independent community pharmacists will provide emergency medication supplies, when appropriate, to their patients confirmed with new insurance coverage through the marketplaces, so that these patients don’t fall through the cracks."
During the 2006 implementation of the Medicare Part D drug benefit, community pharmacists helped patients with emergency supplies thousands of times, Hoey noted. A 2006 survey of more than 500 independent community pharmacists found that more than half (58%) provided 50 or more emergency supplies to seniors during the early days of Part D. Another 21% reported doing so 21 to 50 times.
“Assisting patients as they navigate their health coverage is just one of the ways independent community pharmacies have garnered the highest satisfaction rates from customers in national surveys," Hoey said. "In particular, small business community pharmacies serve many rural areas in which the next closest pharmacy may be 20 miles away or more."