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Group urges state affiliates to seek delay
ASHP is not yet ready to throw in the towel in its battle with CMS over the reporting of National Drug Code (NDC) numbers. In compliance with the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, CMS is requiring that hospital outpatient departments collect NDC numbers on single-source drugs and 20 multiple-source drugs. The requirement takes effect Jan. 1. ASHP has been fighting the agency for an exemption to the rule, claiming it would jeopardize patient safety and create unnecessary work for hospital staff. In a letter sent to CMS earlier this year, Brian M. Meyer, director of ASHP's Government Affairs Division, wrote, "ASHP believes this requirement would create an undue financial hardship since the vast majority of affected facilities have no other option but to provide NDC information through a labor-intensive process. The requirement is also likely to compromise patient safety because of changes in hospital workflows and the necessity of diverting staff (already in short supply) to the NDC reporting requirement." ASHP is asking state affiliates to request a delay in the implementation of the requirement. States that need more time to comply with the rule can request an extension from the U.S. Health & Human Services department.