NACDS uses Rapid Response Program to urge DMEPOS legislation

9/16/2009

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Responding to a recent column about treatment of diabetes and the healthcare debate, an organization catering to the retail pharmacy industry has implemented its Rapid Response Program.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO Steve Anderson penned a response to Morton Kondracke, the executive editor of Capitol Hill publication Roll Call, following Kondracke’s Sept. 10 column.

"I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts and sentiments," Anderson said of the column. "However, there is one missing piece in your proposed ‘war’ on diabetes – the role of pharmacists in helping to improve patient health outcomes and the federal regulations that threaten the patient-pharmacist relationship."

As previously reported by Drug Store News, pharmacy retailers are faced with early October deadlines that will force them to gain accreditation and purchase a surety bond in order to continue selling durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies to seniors covered by Medicare Part B. Those requirements are imposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a division of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, will throw up daunting hurdles that will block many pharmacies from continuing to participate in the sale of medical supplies under Part B, industry advocates warned last week.

"As the face of neighborhood healthcare, pharmacies are extremely concerned that these new onerous requirements could force them out of the Medicare program, disrupting the important pharmacist-patient relationship and the pharmacist-provided services diabetic patients rely on receiving at their community pharmacies," Anderson wrote. "CMS’ view is similarly dim. According to CMS’ own estimates, over 25,000 DMEPOS suppliers will exit the Medicare program due to these requirements. Unfortunately, many patients could be left without a reliable source of DMEPOS and healthcare services if pharmacies are forced out of the Medicare program."

NACDS and other pharmacy groups hope that current bipartisan legislation, designed to conditionally exempt pharmacies from the surety bond and accreditation requirements, will take effect.

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