Forty-three members of Congress are urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services not to implement a new policy that prohibits independent community pharmacies from providing same-day, home delivery of diabetes testing supplies to homebound seniors.
Forty-three members of Congress are urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) not to implement a new policy that prohibits independent community pharmacies from providing same-day, home delivery of diabetes testing supplies (DTS) to homebound seniors.
The policy is scheduled to take effect July 1, 2013. It was designed to prevent large drug suppliers from circumventing the mail-order process to get higher reimbursements. However, that loophole will be eliminated in July when the government adopts uniform payment rates to both mail-order and retail pharmacies.
"We write to request that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reconsider its decision to no longer allow small community pharmacies to deliver diabetes testing supplies (DTS) to homebound patients as well as patients in long term care and assisted living facilities," the lawmakers wrote in a May 21 letter to CMS. "This policy will cause disruption in the care provided to Medicare patients.”
"Now that retail and mail-order suppliers receive the same level of reimbursements, we believe there is no further reason to prohibit home delivery by retail pharmacies," the letter concluded. "We ask that you expeditiously consider allowing small retail pharmacies to continue home delivery and not prevent these crucial, face-to-face counseling and adherence services from being available to Medicare patients."
Pharmacists and lawmakers fear the change will force some independents to stop offering DTS. “This absurd policy of banning pharmacy deliveries to vulnerable patients is indefensible and must be overturned,” said B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association. “For pharmacists, it adds insult to injury, coming on top of the reimbursement cuts. For patients accustomed to the deliveries, it represents a needless hurdle in their efforts to combat diabetes."