Accreditation requirements still a hurdle for pharmacy
Accreditation and surety bond requirements do not appear to be the potential tripping stones to sales of diabetes supplies through retail pharmacies any longer, according to industry executives.
Currently, retail pharmacies in the business of selling diabetes supplies to Medicare recipients are supposed to have both an accreditation in the sale of durable medical equipment, as well as satisfy a surety bond requirement.
The surety bond requirement went into effect last fall; and the accreditation requirement deadline was extended to Jan. 1. However, it appears that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services may be exercising enforcement discretion around accreditation requirements, as an exemption for that accreditation is still part of the healthcare reform legislation being debated in Congress.
CMS already has indicated its willingness to work with the industry, as the agency still is accepting surety bonds after the Oct. 1 deadline, according to industry executives. And the surety bond requirement no longer is really restrictive, noted Bill Popomaronis, VP long-term and home healthcare pharmacy for the National Community Pharmacists Association, especially as the CMS-projected annual per-store cost of that bond fell from an anticipated $1,500 to approximately $250. “Most pharmacies mainly want to keep their [Medicare] Part B billing number to provide diabetes testing and complementary supplies,” Popomaronis said.
With regard to accreditation requirements, which still represent a fiscal hurdle for many pharmacy operators, that measure still enjoys plenty of bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, noted John Norton, NCPA association director of public relations. And for good reason, he noted—pharmacists have not been associated with Medicare fraud and already are regulated by state pharmacy boards.
And many pharmacies already are accredited through the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy DMEPOS accreditation program, including national chains CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens.
Virginia lawmakers move to block plan for mandated health coverage
WASHINGTON In an act of defiance against the Obama administration’s plan for healthcare reform, the Virginia legislature this week moved to block a provision in that plan that would mandate that Americans obtain health insurance.
Health reform opponents on Thursday applauded the move, which came Tuesday when the Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that would make it illegal to require individuals to purchase health insurance. The measure already passed the state Senate and is headed to the desk of Governor Bob McDonnell, who is expected to sign the bill into law.
That will make Virginia “the first state to protect its citizens from a federal government mandate to obtain health insurance,” according to a conservative advocacy group called Americans for Prosperity, which has bitterly opposed efforts by Democrats to reform the U.S. health system. The group also claims that a total of 37 states are considering some form of “health care freedom act.”
The White House, for its part, has long proposed some form of mandated coverage for all Americans as a means of holding down insurance costs and ensuring that healthier Americans are also included in insurance pools. Under the Obama administration’s proposal, however, much of the cost of individual coverage could be defrayed or offset by tax cuts or other financial help for individuals who can’t afford the costs of coverage.
Home health specialist Carex launches online membership program for patients
OAKLAND, Calif. A company that makes in-home health products has launched a section on its Web site for elderly people and their caregivers.
Carex Health Brands announced Thursday the launch of Carex Care Connection, at carex.com. The site allows users to share stories and find discounts and giveaways on Carex products, which include products for mobility, bathroom safety, personal care and daily living aids, pain management and others.
“Our team at Carex Health Brands genuinely cares about the welfare of seniors,” Carex VP marketing Nathalie Kim said in a statement. “In addition to our efforts to create the most innovative and quality products in the in-home health category, we want to connect directly with caregivers and the senior community.”