Bill seeks to preserve seniors’ access to diabetes supplies at community pharmacies
ALEXANDRIA, Va. Reps. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Mike Rogers, R-Mich, have introduced the Medicare Access to Diabetes Supplies Act, a bill that exempts small pharmacies from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ final competitive bidding program for Medicare Part B durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies.
Small community pharmacies — currently classified by the Small Business Administration’s definition as having annual sales of $7 million dollars or less — would be able to maintain the pharmacist-senior patient relationship if this bill becomes law, since it would keep healthcare options for seniors who use DMEPOS, particularly those patients living in underserved areas.
The bill’s introduction was backed by the National Community Pharmacists Association, which said that the “common-sense legislative solution” will keep community pharmacies in business, as most competitive bidding requires DMEPOS suppliers to submit a bid to be awarded a contract — because of their size, many community pharmacies face this hurdle and ultimately are forced out the program by larger suppliers.
“This legislation allows seniors to continue obtaining essential medical supplies like diabetes testing strips from their local community pharmacy,” said Bruce Roberts, NCPA EVP and CEO. “The current competitive bidding program favors larger healthcare providers at the expense of smaller ones like community pharmacies. As a result many seniors who get these supplies from community pharmacies could be forced to travel many miles or go through mail order without the face-to-face consultation that helps maximize health outcomes.”
Solantic launches mobile Web site
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Solantic walk-in urgent care has launched a mobile phone Web site that can be accessed by any mobile phone device that has Web-browsing capability.
The site features a listing of the company’s urgent care, wellness and workers’ comp/occupational health services; urgent care prices; insurances accepted; and information regarding Solantic’s urgent care locations in North Florida, North Central Florida, Central Florida, the Treasure Coast and South Florida. The application also includes click-through links to Google maps to assist users in locating the nearest Solantic center.
The site can be accessed at m.solantic.com.
Since its founding in 2001, Solantic has been a leader in applying retail concepts to the practice of urgent care medicine. Solantic has been referred to in the media as the "Starbucks of health care" as it posts simplified, three-tiered pricing on large menu boards, displays wait times on queue monitors, offers online registration, Solantic gift cards and a guarantee on its services — if a patient doesn’t feel better they can return to Solantic and be treated for free.
The company currently operates 32 centers, with plans to expand in 2010 through hospital joint ventures and franchising with physicians.
NCPA to host three-day legislative conference
WASHINGTON Hundreds of community pharmacists plan to rally in Washington next week for a three-day legislative conference with more than a dozen members of Congress, an organization representing independent pharmacists said Thursday.
The National Community Pharmacists Association announced the conference, taking place Monday through Wednesday at Washington’s Hyatt Regency.
Obama administration officials speaking at the event will include Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services chief medical officer for the Center for Beneficiary Choice Jeff Kelman and Federal Trade Commission deputy director of the Bureau of Competition Peter Levitas, both speaking Monday. On Tuesday and Wednesday, attendees will hear from such congressional speakers as Reps. Wally Herger, R-Calif., and Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., and Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. On Wednesday, they will attend a pharmacy rally on Capitol Hill where speakers will include Reps. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., Gerry Connolly, D-Va., Geoff Davis, R-Ky., and Walter Jones, R-N.C.