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NCPA: Seniors can lose access to medical supplies if bill passes

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. A substantial number of elderly people could lose access to medical supplies if a pared-down jobs package adopted by Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is allowed to stand, according to an organization representing the country’s independent pharmacies.

The National Community Pharmacists Association said Wednesday that Reid’s version of a bipartisan bill introduced last week by Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, would strip out provisions granting an accreditation exemption for pharmacies selling Medicare Part B durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies, also known as DMEPOS, which includes everything from walkers to diabetes testing strips. Nearly 23,000 independent pharmacies face an accreditation enforcement deadline of March 1 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is starting to revoke the billing numbers for pharmacies who have not met the DME accreditation requirements,” NCPA executive VP and CEO Bruce Roberts wrote in a letter to Reid. “You have recognized that these burdensome requirements mean that many pharmacies will not be able to provide these important products to Medicare beneficiaries. CMS has unfairly targeted pharmacies for meeting these requirements, while exempting 17 other similarly state-regulated healthcare professionals.”

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