Retail News Breaks Archives
NACDS spells out Rx regulatory impact to Congress
January 19th, 2011
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – In response to a request by a congressional committee, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores gave a rundown of current and proposed regulations that could have a negative economic impact on the pharmacy sector and the industry's job growth.
NACDS said late Tuesday that it recently sent a letter to the lawmaker who made the request, Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, that focuses on four federal regulations that have the potential to negatively impact patient care, pharmacy services, pharmacy workflow and operations.
These include pending requirements on the handling and storage of electronic patient information mandated under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of the 2009 economic stimulus law, which NACDS said in the letter would result in an onerous burden on chain pharmacies and might compel many to replace information technology systems companywide.
Other regulations of concern to NACDS involve durable medical equipment (DME). The association noted that DME accreditation requirements imposed by the Medical Modernization Act of 2003 would still force pharmacies and other suppliers to expend considerable time, resources and costs become accredited through Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) accreditation organizations, even though the health care reform law gave a conditional exemption to a number of pharmacies.
In addition, NACDS explained in the letter, CMS' implementation of the Medicare Part B Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System (PECOS) requires providers that order or refer such medical supplies for a patient to have an enrollment record in the system — something over which pharmacies have no control — and could put drug chains in the difficult position of having to deny patients necessary health care items or to provide them yet be at risk for no payment.
And finally NACDS noted that the CMS Competitive Bidding Program for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies (DMEPOS), which went into effect Jan. 1, could disrupt patient access to such key items as diabetes testing supplies at retail pharmacies. The association said in that letter it has urged that diabetes testing supplies obtained at community pharmacies to continue to be excluded from future rounds of the bidding program.
"NACDS appreciates the opportunity to provide Congress with pharmacy's perspective on existing and proposed federal regulations," NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson stated. "As the face of neighborhood health care, pharmacy has a direct impact on the health and well-being of patients and the health care system, and we will continue to advocate for pro-patient, pro-pharmacy policies that improve health and reduce health care costs."