CMS issues final rule on status of LTC consultant pharmacists

June 15, 2012
Monica Shah, PharmD
Monica Shah, PharmD

Monica Shah, PharmD is a Clinical Pharmacist at RWJ Barnabas Health in New Jersey and adjunct faculty member at Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University.

A final ruling from CMS states that "We now believe a more targeted and less disruptive approach is warranted"

Long-term-care (LTC) consultant pharmacists will not be required to be independent from dispensing pharmacies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, or distributors, according to the final ruling of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). "From comments received on this issue, we now believe a more targeted and less disruptive approach is warranted," CMS stated in a fact sheet summarizing the rule.

However, CMS would like the LTC industry to increase transparency and reduce drug overuse by adopting the following: Separation of LTC consultant contracting for dispensing and other pharmacy services; disclosure to the LTC facility of potential conflict of interest by the consultant pharmacist, or execution of a consultant pharmacist integrity agreement; and payment of fair market rates for consultant pharmacist services.

ASCP reacts

In the rule proposed last October, CMS raised the possibility of a mandatory independent status for consultant pharmacists, noting concerns about conflict of interest, kickbacks, financial incentives, and impact on drug utilization.