NCPA hails new move in Senate to curb Medicare DME requirements

5/4/2009

WASHINGTON The National Community Pharmacists Association is hailing new, bipartisan efforts in Congress to ease burdensome restrictions on the sale of durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies by retail pharmacies under the Medicare Part B program.

U.S. Senators Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, have introduced legislation that would exempt pharmacies from federal requirements that they post a $50,000 surety bond in order to sell DMEPOS to Medicare beneficiaries. The legislation serves as a companion bill to a similar measure in the House of Representatives, known as the Preserve Patents Access to Reputable DMEPOS Providers Act of 2009.

NCPA EVP and CEO Bruce Roberts today issued a statement in support of the new Senate proposal.

“This legislation is important to maintaining patient access to essential medical supplies, such as diabetes testing strips,” he said. “It allows patients to continue relying on their trusted local pharmacies as a one-stop shop where prescription drugs, medical advice and supplies are available and health outcomes are maximized.”

The bond requirement, Roberts added, “should not apply to pharmacists, who are already subject to state regulations and are not associated with violation.” What’s more, he said, “Fourteen other medical providers are already exempted from this time-consuming and expensive requirement, and this bill would add pharmacists to that list.

“NCPA encourages the Senate and House to move these bills in an expeditious fashion. This will ensure patient access to medical supplies is not endangered,” added NCPA’s top executive. “We deeply appreciate the leadership of Senators Jon Tester and Pat Roberts and their continued efforts to help pharmacists continue to play a vital role in the health care chain.”

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