Pharmacists, Members of Congress Offer Support for Proposed Improvements to Medicare Part D

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- One hundred fifty-one (151) organizations, including the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and the National Rural Health Association, sent a letter today to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner in strong support of a number of provisions included in the agency's proposed regulation for 2015 Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. The letter comes as more Members of Congress contact CMS in support of its proposal to expand beneficiary choice by allowing independent community pharmacies the opportunity to participate as "preferred" providers if they are willing to accept the contract offered by a drug plan.

"We want to take this opportunity to voice our strong support for certain proposed changes to the Medicare Part D prescription drug program that will allow more meaningful beneficiary choice and increased marketplace competition," the organizations wrote in the letter on behalf of pharmacy providers and drug supply chain participants from across the country.

Highlights from the letter include the following:

  • To increase beneficiary choice and enhance market competition, the groups noted that "We support CMS' proposal to require Part D plan sponsors to offer terms & conditions for every level of cost sharing, including preferred cost sharing, to any willing pharmacy that will accept the terms." They also noted that "although the agency was led to believe that its costs via preferred pharmacy networks to be uniformly lower, CMS' own findings proved otherwise."
  • Full support of CMS' proposal to expand access to critical medication therapy management (MTM) services, which are "ideally provided face-to-face by a pharmacist" and "must become a cornerstone of the Prescription Drug Benefit."
  • "We support CMS' expectations that pharmacies should have current data on the amount of reimbursement they can expect, which in turn impacts costs that plan sponsors submit to CMS as well as prices displayed on Plan Finder."

The coalition letter comes in conjunction with a series of Congressional letters to CMS in support of the pharmacy choice and competition (or "any willing provider") provisions within the proposed rule.

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) wrote to CMS that, "I have heard from many Medicare recipients who now have to travel to neighboring towns or counties to find new and larger preferred network pharmacies.  For many patients, the cost and physical strain associated with unnecessary travel may keep them at home. Last month, CMS released its proposed rule for Medicare Part D, and I was encouraged to see language that addresses the unintended problems that have developed with these preferred networks.  I thank you for your attention to this issue affecting America's community pharmacists and Medicare patients."

In addition, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) recently wrote to CMS to follow up on a March 2013 letter he and 30 other Members of Congress sent the agency. This week he wrote that, "independent and community pharmacists have dedicated their careers to providing quality patient care, but exclusion from preferred networks has resulted in a strain on their patients and their businesses.  I was pleased to see that your agency's proposed rule on Part D included promising language that addresses some of the concerns laid out" in the March 2013 letter.

Earlier this year, U.S. Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) sent their own letters to CMS in support of the any willing provider provision.

The following organizations signed the letter to CMS:

Alaska Pharmacists Association

Alliance of Independent Pharmacists of Texas

American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy

American Pharmacies

American Pharmacy Cooperative, Inc. 

American Pharmacy Services Corp.

AmeriClear Rx

Appro-Rx

Arizona Pharmacy Association

Arkansas Pharmacists Association

Associated Fresh Markets

Association of Community Pharmacists Congressional Network

Astrup Drug, Inc.

Aurora Pharmacies    

Bartell Drugs

Big Y Foods, Inc.

Brookshire Grocery Company

California Pharmacists Association

CARE Pharmacies Cooperative, Inc.

Cecil's Pharmacy

Chain Drug Marketing Association

Community Pharmacy Prescription Network

Compliant Pharmacy Alliance Cooperative

Connecticut Pharmacists Association

Dan's Fresh Market

Davis Food and Drug

DiCello & Associates, Inc.

Dick's Fresh Market

Digital Simplistics, Inc.  

Discount Drug Mart, Inc.

Drug Emporium Pharmacies  

EPIC Pharmacies, Inc.

EPIC Pharmacy Network, Inc.

Fagen Pharmacy           

FDS, Inc.

Federation of Pharmacy Networks

Florida Pharmacy Association

Frank W. Kerr Co.

Fresh Encounter, Inc.

Fruth Pharmacy

Garden State Pharmacy Owners, Inc.

Georgia Pharmacy Association

GeriMed

GPhA Academy of Independent Pharmacy

Guardian Pharmacy

Harmon's

Hartig Drug        

Hi-School Pharmacy Inc.

HomeTown Pharmacy Inc.

Hy-Vee Pharmacies       

Idaho State Pharmacy Association

Illinois Pharmacists Association

Independent Pharmacy Alliance

Independent Pharmacy Buying Group, Inc.

Independent Pharmacy Cooperative

Innovatix, LLC

International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists

Iowa Pharmacy Association

Kansas Independent Pharmacy Service Corp.

Kansas Pharmacists Association

Kelley-Ross Long-Term Care Pharmacy

Kentucky Pharmacists Association

Keystone Pharmacy Purchasing Alliance

King Kullen Pharmacies

Kinney Drugs, Inc.

Kopp Drug

La Farmacia de la Gente

Lagniappe Pharmacy Services

Lifecheck Pharmacies

Lin's Fresh Market

Long Island Pharmacists Society

Louisiana Independent Pharmacies Association

Macey's Supermarkets

Mallatt's Homecare Pharmacy 

Managed Health Care Associates, Inc.

Maryland Pharmacists Association

Massachusetts Independent Pharmacists Association

Massachusetts Pharmacists Association

MedOne Healthcare Systems

Merwin LTC Pharmacies

Michigan Pharmacists Association

Minnesota Pharmacists Association

Mississippi Independent Pharmacies Association

Missouri Pharmacy Association

Montana Pharmacy Association

Mutual Wholesale Drug Company

National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations

National Community Pharmacists Association

National Grocers Association

National Rural Health Association

Navarro Discount Pharmacies, LLC

Nebraska Pharmacists Association

New Jersey Pharmacists Association

New Mexico Pharmacists Association

Niemann Foods, Inc.

North Dakota Pharmacists Association

Northeast Pharmacy Service Corporation

Northwest Specialty Pharmacy

NoviXus Mail Service Pharmacy

Ohio Pharmacists Association

Osborn Drugs, Inc.

Our Valley Pharmacy

Pace Alliance

Pakistani American Pharmaceutical Association

Partners in Pharmacy Cooperative

PBA Health/TrueCare Pharmacies

PCCA

Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association

PerroneRX, LLC

Pharmacists Society of the State of New York

Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency

Pharmacy Plus Network

Pharmacy Provider Service Corp.

Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin

Philadelphia Association of Retail Druggists

PPOk RxSelect Pharmacy Network

PPSC

Progressive Pharmacies

QS/1 Data Systems

Quality Care Pharmacies

QuickChek Pharmacies

Raley's Family of Fine Stores

Ralph's Thriftway Pharmacy

Red Cross Pharmacy      

Ritzman Pharmacies

Rochester Drug Cooperative, Inc.

RxPlus Pharmacies

RxPreferred Benefits

Sav-Mor Drug Stores

Sav-On Drugs

ShopRite

Smith Drug Company

South Carolina Pharmacy Association

Southern Pharmacy Cooperative

Tennessee Pharmacists Association 

Texas Independent Pharmacies Association

Texas Pharmacy Association

Texas Pharmacy Business Council

Third Party Station

Thrifty White Pharmacy

Town & Country Markets

United Drugs

Value Drug Company

Value Merchandiser Company

Virginia Pharmacists Association

Walker Drug                      

Washington State Pharmacy Association

Weis Markets

West Virginia Pharmacists Association

Woods Supermarkets

Wray's Marketfresh IGA

For more information on the proposed rule, go to www.ncpanet.org/medicare.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent an $88.7 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 300,000 individuals, including over 62,000 pharmacists. To learn more, go to www.ncpanet.org, visit facebook.com/commpharmacy, or follow NCPA on Twitter @Commpharmacy.

Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100106/DC33253LOGO

SOURCE National Community Pharmacists Association



RELATED LINKS
http://www.ncpanet.org

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

 

PR Newswire Membership

Fill out a PR Newswire membership form or contact us at (888) 776-0942.

Learn about PR Newswire services

Request more information about PR Newswire products and services or call us at (888) 776-0942.