NACDS leader addresses legislation impacting pharmacies, patients

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A group representing the drug retailing industry submitted a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., regarding "issues [that] are of the utmost importance" to its members.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores' president and CEO, Steve Anderson, wrote to Issa, highlighting certain pieces of legislation that affect traditional drug stores, supermarkets and mass merchants with pharmacies, all of which NACDS represents.

Anderson first touched upon the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act. New provisions to the HITECH Act, which was passed in 2009, would require accounting of all disclosures of sensitive health information among patients. "If this expansion of the accounting requirement were to be imposed on pharmacies, it would cause chain pharmacies to have to completely replace their existing information technology systems nationwide. This would have a significant negative impact on many pharmacies that are currently struggling," Anderson wrote.

Next up: durable medical equipment accreditation requirements imposed by the Medical Modernization Act of 2003, which also would place financial burden on certain pharmacies that may have to forgo providing DMEPOS to their patients, the NACDS leader noted.

Anderson also discussed the implementation of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Medicare Part B provider enrollment, chain and ownership system, stating that the "pharmacies ... have no control over whether a provider is enrolled in PECOS and no ability to require them to be enrolled. As a result, pharmacies who want to assure that their patients receive their ordered medical equipment and supplies face the difficult choice of denying patients their needed healthcare items or providing them and being at risk for no payment," he said.

Addressing CMS' competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies, which includes diabetes testing supplies, NACDS urged that pharmacies be excluded from DMEPOS CBPs, as "limiting access ... at community pharmacies would fragment care, thereby increasing patient confusion and disrupting therapy, all of which can increase overall program costs."

NACDS' letter follows the National Community Pharmacists Association's submission of its own list of recommendations on how certain current or proposed federal regulations can burden pharmacies and their patients.

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