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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Monday endorsed the Diabetic Testing Supply Access Act (H.R. 2845), legislation recently introduced by Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., that would allow independent community pharmacies to provide same-day delivery services of diabetes testing supplies to Medicare beneficiaries who are homebound, in long-term care or assisted living facilities.
Community pharmacies are presently prevented from delivering diabetes supplies to Medicare patients. In conjunction with the “competitive bidding” program, on July 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services implemented a national mail-order program, which included a ban on DTS deliveries by community pharmacies to seniors and assisted living facilities.
“For many Medicare beneficiaries, July has been a challenging month," stated Douglas Hoey, NCPA CEO. "Some have been forced to learn to use a new glucose meter or monitor, while others have had to find a new DTS supplier. Medicare’s home delivery ban imposes an additional burden on some of the most vulnerable beneficiaries — those who are homebound or in assisted living facilities," he said. “[DTS delivery] is part of what distinguishes independent community pharmacies from other pharmacy providers and there is no reason for Medicare to ban the practice when it doesn’t cost the agency one penny.”
As many as 43 leaders in Congress — led by Reps. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., and Welch — sent a letter to CMS in May questioning the delivery prohibition. “Now that retail and mail-order suppliers receive the same level of reimbursements, we believe there is no further reason to prohibit home delivery by retail pharmacies,” they wrote. “We ask that [CMS] expeditiously consider allowing small retail pharmacies to continue home delivery and not prevent these crucial face-to-face counseling and adherence services from being available to Medicare patients.”
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