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NACDS applauds Obama for signing DME legislation
October 15th, 2009
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores commended President Barack Obama for signing into law legislation that extends the accreditation requirement for pharmacies to provide durable medical equipment (DME) under Medicare.
Under the law, bill H.R. 3663, introduced by Reps. Zach Space (D., Ohio) and Lee Terry (R., Neb.), pharmacies now have until January 1, 2010, to meet new guidelines for selling durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies (DMEPOS) in the Medicare Part B program.
Previously, under stricter requirements instituted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), suppliers of DME had to get accreditation as of October 1 and obtain a $50,000 surety bond per location as of October 2 to provide those products and Part B medications to Medicare patients. Most health care providers — but not pharmacies — were exempted from that requirement. NACDS and other industry groups had called on Congress to act quickly before the new requirements went into effect.
Steve Anderson, NACDS president and chief executive officer, explained that the legislation will help ensure that Medicare beneficiaries can continue to obtain diabetic supplies, other DME products and counseling from community pharmacies.
"The law will help avert serious disruptions in Medicare beneficiaries accessing critical medical supplies from their neighborhood pharmacy," Anderson said Thursday in a statement. "As the face of neighborhood health care, pharmacists are the most readily accessible health care providers to assist seniors with their medical supplies and medications."
In addition, NACDS sent a letter to members of Congress to express thanks for their leadership and involvement in pushing through the DME legislation. Lawmakers sent the letter included Reps. Space, Terry, Henry Waxman (D., Calif.), Frank Pallone (D., N.J.) and Joe Barton (R., Texas) as well as Sens. Jon Tester (D., Mont.), Sam Brownback (R., Kan.), Max Baucus (D., Mont.) and Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa).
NACDS noted that the letter also urged support of provisions in the House Tri-Committee and Senate Finance Committee health care reform bills that waive the surety bond and accreditation requirements for pharmacies enrolled as a supplier in Medicare Part B for the last five years that have never had an adverse action.
The letter also thanked lawmakers for introducing H.R. 1970, the Preserve Patient Access to Reputable DMEPOS Providers Act, which would provide a conditional exemption for pharmacies from the surety bond requirement.