PHARMACY

New bill would exempt pharmacists from accreditation rules for DME

BY DSN STAFF

First and foremost, this bill as well as others supported by the voice of community pharmacy — the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacy Association — stand as testimony to the overarching value pharmacy brings in the delivery of America’s healthcare.

That’s because perhaps the biggest issue in all of this, especially for chain retailers, is the availability of diabetes supplies — among the highest categories of Medicare DME spending — to Medicare recipients. The per-store investment in securing and maintaining accreditation coupled with a requirement that each pharmacy post a $50,000 surety bond is expected to push many pharmacy participants, both large and small, out of the margin-tight business altogether, a factor that could limit local availability of DME supplies for those covered by Medicare.

And time plays a critical factor because pharmacies are currently operating under a Sept. 30 deadline for DMEPOS accreditation, and it could take as long as six months to complete that process. And that means something needs to be decided by the end of this month.

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PHARMACY

Jonas Brothers to donate funds to diabetes camps

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Celebrity phenomenon the Jonas Brothers will donate $25,000 to diabetes camps this summer, the members announced at a Bayer Diabetes Care meeting.

The funds will be sent through their charitable foundation, Change for the Children Foundation.

The Jonas Brothers started Change for the Children Foundation to show that children can support other less fortunate children who are faced with adversity. Sixteen-year-old Nick Jonas, the youngest member of the band, has had Type 1 Diabetes for three years. Last August, he formed a partnership with Bayer Diabetes Care, starting his role as a Diabetes ambassador.

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HHS reports on health concerns, launches health reform Web site

BY Jim Frederick

WASHINGTON Citing a growing chorus of alarm from Americans concerned about healthcare affordability and access, the Obama administration is ramping up pressure for a major overhaul of the nation’s healthcare system.

The Department of Health and Human Services Thursdayissued a report that healthcare officials within the administration say lends urgency to the search for solutions to rising health costs and lack of health coverage among growing numbers of the uninsured.

The report, “Americans Speak on Health Reform: Report on Health Care Community Discussions”, summarizes comments from thousands of Americans who hosted and participated in community forums on health care across the United States. The report “highlights the needfor immediate action to reform health care,” according to HHS.

The report is available on a new Web site dedicated to health reform: www.healthreform.gov. Unveiled Thursday, the Web site provides viewing access to Thursdays White House Health Forum. HHS is encouraging consumers to share their thoughts about health reform with the Obama administration via the new Web site, and to sign a statement in support of comprehensive health reform this year.

“This new web site…and report ensure that when we discuss health reform, the American people will have an equal stake in the health reform efforts,” said HHS spokeswoman Jenny Backus. “Skyrocketing health care costs are creating enormous pressure on families, on businesses and our fiscal future.”

The Obama Administration, Backus asserted, “is committed to taking action this year on health reform and is calling on government, business, health care stakeholders and everyday Americans to come together to make it happen.”

More than 9,000 people signed up in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to host a discussion, and thousands more participated in the gatherings, according to the agency. After each event, guests and hosts were asked to fill out a survey and submit a group report to the Presidential Transition Team’s web site summarizing the group’s concerns and suggestions.

A copy of the report, along with photos and other materials, is available at www.HealthReform.gov.

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