Some pharmacies behind in NCPDP Telecommunication Standard testing

June 28, 2011

Retail pharmacies are behind in testing software systems for HIPAA?s NCPDP Telecommunication Standard D.0, according to a new survey from the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs.

Retail pharmacies are behind in testing software systems for HIPAA’s NCPDP Telecommunication Standard D.0, according to a new survey from the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP).

“We have pharmacies that are still doing development and testing, and a small majority of people are doing external testing. Everyone is saying that they are going to be compliant by the end of the year,” said Annette Gabel, chair of NCPDP.

NCPDP is reminding retail pharmacies and software vendors that they have until January 1, 2012, to achieve compliance with the Telecommunication Standard, which will facilitate real-time processing of billions of dollars in pharmacy claims. Once implemented, applicable software will allow for immediate electronic transaction of claims from pharmacies to payers, including Medicaid.

While most of the large pharmacy chains have begun testing software systems, many pharmacies say they will not start conducting transactions until the third or fourth quarter of this year.

“My concern is that there will be a big bottleneck at the end of the year. Smaller pharmacies rely on software vendors, and a lot of the vendors are not ready yet, so the pharmacies cannot start testing,” Gabel said.

In addition, larger pharmacy chains have begun external testing of the Telecommunication Standard, but have not been able to begin full implementation because of holdups connected with Medicaid agencies.

“The Medicaid agencies are not ready yet. CVS has worked through that issue and is conducting a good percentage of their claims. Others are waiting further into the year, when they can get Medicaid on the Standard,” Gabel said.