Group Urges Congress to Preserve Seniors' Access to Diabetes SuppliesThursday, June 09, 2011
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) endorsed legislation introduced by U.S. Representatives Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) that would allow seniors to continue receiving essential diabetes testing supplies, and expert counseling on their proper use, from independent community pharmacies.
"We commend Reps. Schock and Welch for introducing this vital legislation," said NCPA Executive Vice President and CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. "This bipartisan bill would help ensure that seniors can continue to rely on their independent community pharmacy for these essential diabetes supplies and the expert counseling needed to effectively manage their condition."
The Medicare Access to Diabetes Supplies Act (H.R. 1936) permanently exempts diabetes testing supplies furnished by small community pharmacies from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services` (CMS) competitive bidding program and pricing for Medicare Part B DMEPOS (durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies). The bill also permits small, community pharmacies to continue providing home delivery of these products without them being subject to the future national mail order competitive bidding program.
CMS has indicated that it will likely include retail diabetic supplies in future rounds of DMEPOS competitive bidding. The exemption in H.R. 1936 covers diabetes test strips, monitors, lancets, glucose control solutions and applies to community pharmacies with 10 or fewer locations.
Without enactment of this legislation, or a comparable exemption, seniors would suffer diminished access as small pharmacies could no longer offer these supplies and provide face-to-face guidance. Most independent pharmacies will not be able to meet the competitive bidding requirement to service an entire Metropolitan Statistical Area and to match the cut-rate bid prices of giant mail order facilities.
"The in-person counseling provided by pharmacists is critical to helping many patients properly use glucose monitors," Hoey added. "Without face-to-face counseling, seniors may incorrectly interpret glucose readings, triggering either a false alarm or a mistaken sense of security. Under either scenario Medicare costs may increase as patients could unnecessarily seek more expensive treatment from physicians or hospitals or ultimately suffer costly diabetes complications.
Originally posted by DiabetesCare.net on June 9, 2011.