ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a proposed regulation to exempt community pharmacies from the upcoming bidding process for Medicare Part B diabetes testing supplies.
The National Community Pharmacists Association said Tuesday that the CMS proposal, issued Friday, also included instructions to exempt most independent pharmacies from accreditation requirements for diabetes testing supplies.
"Medicare is right to exempt community pharmacies from the bidding program for diabetes testing supplies. Otherwise, independent pharmacies could have been forced out of the program," NCPA acting executive vice president and chief executive officer Douglas Hoey said in a statement.
Hoey noted that independent pharmacies can’t command the same prices paid by national chains or mail-order vendors. "Further complicating matters, it’s common for mail-order customers to end up in independent pharmacies seeking instruction on how to use the testing supplies — care for which the local pharmacist is not compensated," he added.
NCPA commended Reps. Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) and Peter Welch (D., Vt.) for bipartisan support of the exemption. The two Congressmen introduced H.R. 5235, the Medicare Access to Diabetes Supplies Act.
"This proposed regulation and Medicare’s instructions exempting most independent community pharmacies from the accreditation process, both issued on Friday, are wide-ranging and have significant implications for pharmacies," Hoey stated. "NCPA will continue reviewing both proposals carefully and will respond more formally to the proposed regulation during the comment period. We look forward to continuing to work with CMS officials to ensure that community pharmacists can continue to play a vital role in helping Medicare’s diabetes patients maximize their health while controlling costs."