NACDS urges CMS to ensure Medicaid beneficiaries have access to health care

ALEXANDRIA, Va. ­— The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regarding a proposed rule that would help to determine Medicaid beneficiary access to pharmacies and other healthcare providers.

NACDS urged CMS to ensure access to healthcare services for Medicaid beneficiaries that are comparable with the access that the general population has in a given geographic area, a requirement of the federal standard.

The rule would create a process for states to follow to determine compliance with the federal Medicaid access standard of the Social Security Act.

"We applaud CMS for its efforts to create a standardized, transparent process for states to determine if they are meeting federal access requirements. We believe the three-part framework developed by the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission to assess access based on enrollees' needs, availability of care and providers, and utilization of services will be a useful tool to determine where access problems may exist today and how to continue to monitor access," NACDS stated in its comments letter.

"We further commend the agency for its stated commitment to develop proposals for monitoring access in the managed care setting, as its use becomes more prevalent in the Medicaid population," the letter continued.

NACDS also expressed its support for frequent reviews of beneficiaries' access to healthcare services, and for the need for states to take corrective steps to address access issues should they arise. In addition, NACDS urged greater transparency and opportunities for public participation in reviewing beneficiary access and in changes to provider reimbursement rates.

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