ALEXANDRIA, Va. An effort by two representatives to urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to crack down on practices that allegedly have driven small pharmacies out of business has drawn compliments from an organization representing independents.
The National Community Pharmacists Association praised Reps. Marion Berry, D-Alaska, and Walter Jones, R-N.C., for urging the CMS to force all Medicare Part D prescription drug plans to fully comply with the prompt pay provision in the Medicare Improvements for Patietns and Providers Act of 2008, which went into effect on Jan. 1 of this year. The two representatives, who wrote the provision, are urging CMS to use its regulatory powers to stop “what appears to be the improper and illegal imposition of extraneous fees and charges on Part D network pharmacies.”
“[Berry and Jones] worked hard to get legislation that banned an unscrupulous business tactic of certain Part D plans; that is, deliberately lining their pockets by earning interest off the ‘float’ from delaying payment to pharmacies for prescription drug claims,” NCPA CEO Bruce Roberts said. “Many independent pharmacies were forced to take out loans and lines of credits maintain cash flow. For pharmacies that were already in a financially precarious position, the delayed payments were the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back as they went out of business.”