Groups support pharmacy audit fairness bill

June 19, 2012

The National Rural Health Association recently sent a letter to U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) in support of the bill she introduced in March, H.R. 4215, or "The Medicare Pharmacy Transparency and Fair Auditing Act."

The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) recently sent a letter to U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) in support of the bill she introduced in March, H.R. 4215, or “The Medicare Pharmacy Transparency and Fair Auditing Act.”

The bill addresses abusive pharmacy auditing under Medicare Part D, while also allowing for the continued legitimate anti-fraud oversight of the program.

This legislation would also help safeguard patient access to independent community pharmacists. As NRHA states in its letter, “inadequate access to a community pharmacist can reduce medication adherence and by definition, limits the ability of patients to benefit from the healthcare services provided by community pharmacies.”

B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association, issued a response in support of the NRHA’s letter in a statement, saying, “With approximately 50% of independent community pharmacies located in towns with populations of 20,000 people or less, preserving access to pharmacy services in rural America is an important reason to support this bipartisan legislation.

“The National Rural Health Association is the leading advocate for rural healthcare concerns, so its support is noteworthy. This common-sense legislation will help ensure that when a pharmacist dispenses the right medication to the right patient at the right time as prescribed by a doctor, it isn’t a punishable offense simply because of a harmless clerical discrepancy. In addition, the bill returns the focus of pharmacy audits to their original intent of uncovering real fraud and requires that any funds collected during an audit be passed back to Medicare and beneficiaries – not retained by the middleman.”

Audit reforms have been enacted in nearly 20 states, according to the NCPA statement.