MTM and Medicare Part D high congressional priorities, says NACDS

July 6, 2011

Passing the MTM Empowerment Act and expanding Medicare Part D coverage should be Congress?s focus this session, says the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

Passing the MTM Empowerment Act and expanding Medicare Part D coverage should be Congress’s focus this session, says the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS).

NACDS recently submitted a statement to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee during its hearing, “Health Care Entitlements: The Road Forward,” focusing on the financial future of Medicare and Medicaid.

While Medicare Part D includes an MTM benefit, the requirements are vague, so access has been unavailable to many beneficiaries. The MTM Empowerment Act of 2011, sponsored by Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) with 8 co-sponsors, expands eligibility requirements to include beneficiaries with only 1 chronic disease, dual eligible beneficiaries for enrolling in Medicare for the first time, and beneficiaries in transition of care. “Such beneficiaries are likely to have new medications, including the need for diabetic medication and supplies, and would benefit from a targeted intervention by a pharmacist,” said the NACDS statement.

“The way it was defined was that not all seniors who could benefit [from MTM] were eligible. That is inhumane. Seniors should not have to wait until they are really unhealthy before they can receive MTM,” said Paul Kelly, vice president of government affairs for NACDS.

NACDS also urged Congress to expand vaccine coverage in Medicare Part D so that more patients can receive vaccines and immunizations from retail pharmacies. “We have provided tens of thousands of vaccines over the last few years. This would make vaccinations for seniors more available,” Kelly said.

Congress should also maintain pharmacy’s exemption from bidding on durable medical equipment for diabetes. “CMS wisely decided to exclude retail pharmacists from competitive bidding on diabetes supplies. Our members would unlikely be able to win the bids,” Kelly said.