NACDS urges Obama, Congress to ensure patient access for TRICARE beneficiaries

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Amid debt ceiling talks, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores has sent a letter to President Barack Obama and to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate leadership outlining key areas to help ensure continued patient access to pharmacy services through such federally funded programs as Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE, the association announced on Wednesday. 

The letter urges decision-makers to continue to enable access to diabetic testing supplies for Medicare patients, many of whom obtain these supplies from community pharmacies. In addition, the letter addresses how decreases in Medicare Part B prescription drug reimbursements could result in prescription access problems for Medicare patients.

NACDS also urged decision-makers to exercise caution in attempts to reduce costs in the Department of Defense TRICARE pharmacy program.

"Local pharmacies are an important healthcare access point and currently provide important preventive services to our nation's military, such as immunizations. If reductions to the TRICARE pharmacy program are considered, we urge you to be mindful of the importance of maintaining access and choice of provider for TRICARE beneficiaries. NACDS has a long history of partnering with the Department of Defense to institute industry best practices to control prescription drug spending in the TRICARE program, and we are committed to continuing to do so," the letter stated.

Finally, NACDS urged continued vigilance and a strategic approach to reducing waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which can increase costs.

"We believe the focus should be based on high-risk providers, rather than creating one-size-fits-all initiatives that unfairly burden legitimate providers with a history of serving Medicare patients," the letter stated.

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