NACDS supports Senate letter to HHS urging more time to implement Medicaid reimbursement
ARLINGTON, Va. — Citing the need for a one-year transition period for states to implement the July average manufacturer price-based federal upper limits, or FULs, nine Senators are urging Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to consider the challenges that states will face when the final Medicaid AMP-based FULs are published. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has expressed its support for sending the letter.
In July, CMS will publish the final Medicaid AMP-based FULs. The agency has indicated that it expects the new FULs to be effective immediately.
“We believe that such a rapid implementation will pose problems for under-reimbursement of Medicaid prescriptions at the state level, which may pose problems for beneficiaries,” the Senators wrote to Sebelius. “We encourage CMS to establish a one-year transition period for state implementation of the FULs, as well as for implementing any necessary dispensing fee changes by the states once the new FULs have been published along with any corresponding and necessary regulatory guidance.”
“Most states face numerous obstacles to immediate implementation, including current year legislative sessions that do not allow for Medicaid reimbursement changes, the need for legislative or regulatory changes to achieve compliance, the need for cost-of-dispensing-fee studies for calculating fair pharmacy reimbursement and/or the need to file a State Plan Amendment to implement the new reimbursement approach,” the Senators stated in the letter.
The letter also cites the support for a one-year transition period by the National Association of Medicaid Directors. In a letter to CMS in September 2013, NAMD also recognized the above-mentioned obstacles for states, and requested from CMS the creation of a transition period up to one year for implementation.
NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson expressed appreciation to the Senators for sending this letter, “The bottom line is that patient access to pharmacy care should not be compromised. Implementation of these AMP-based FULs poses great concern for pharmacy patient care, and we appreciate the leadership of Senators Mark Warner, D-Va., Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and the support of their colleagues in recognizing how this immediate reimbursement change could impact access to pharmacy services for low-income Americans.”
KT Tape PRO gains distribution in Target
LINDON, Utah — KT Tape on Wednesday announced that KT Tape PRO is now available in Target stores nationwide.
“Target customers are known for being health-conscious and loyal to their preferred brands,” said Jim Jenson, chief marketing officer at KT Tape. “We are very excited to be on shelf at Target offering quality preventive and supportive products to the Target community.”
KT Tape has been endorsed by three-time gold medalist Kerri Walsh. In 2009, the National Athletic Trainers Association recognized KT Tape as “Best in Show” for all consumer healthcare products. KT Tape is currently available at more than 25,000 retail and clinical locations in the U.S. and Canada.
Target’s Q1 results show signs of improvement
MINNEAPOLIS — Despite the massive data breach that hurt Target’s fourth quarter, people are not staying away from the retailer. According to a Reuters report, the company saw a dramatic improvement in traffic in the first quarter compared with its late fourth-quarter trends.
The company’s first-quarter financial performance in its U.S. and Canadian segments was in line with expectations, and according to interim president and CEO John Mulligan, reflects not only its continued recovery from the data breach but also early signs of improvement in its Canadian operations.
“While we are pleased with this momentum, we need to move more quickly,” said Mulligan, who is also the company’s CFO and is temporarily filling in as chief executive while the company seeks a replacement for the ousted Gregg Steinhafel. “As a result, we have made changes to our management team and are investing additional resources to drive U.S. traffic and sales, improve our Canadian operations and advance our ongoing digital transformation. We have updated our 2014 earnings expectations to reflect the impact of these investments and believe that they position Target for accelerated profitable growth as a leading omnichannel retailer.”
U.S. sales for the quarter increased 0.2% to $16.7 billion from $16.6 billion last year, reflecting the contribution from new stores partially offset by a 0.3% decrease in comparable sales. First quarter gross margin rate was 29.5% compared with 30.7% in 2013, driven primarily by additional promotional markdowns this year.
The company’s Canadian segment generated sales of $393 million, compared with $86 million in first quarter 2013 when Target opened its first 24 Canadian stores. The first quarter 2014 gross margin rate of 18.7% reflects the continued impact of efforts to clear excess inventory, including long lead-time receipts. This compares to first quarter 2013 gross margin rate of 38.4%, which benefitted from a lack of clearance markdowns due to the short time stores had been open.
Heading Canadian operations now is company veteran Mark Schindele. He replaces Tony Fisher, whom the company terminated this week.
Target incurred $18 million of net expense in first quarter 2014 thanks to the data breach — during which an intruder gained unauthorized access to its network and stole payment card and other customer information — reflecting $26 million of total expenses partially offset by the recognition of an $8 million insurance receivable.
The expense does not include any accrual for the potential claims by the payment card networks for counterfeit fraud losses, the company said, adding that the amount accrued to date for probable losses on potential payment card network claims consists solely of operating expense reimbursement obligations. Target also added that at this time, it is unable to reasonably estimate a range of possible losses on the payment card networks’ potential claims in excess of the amount accrued.