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NCPA calls on CMS to nix Ohio plan to cut dispensing fee

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association has urged the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) not to approve a Medicaid plan amendment submitted by Ohio that would more than halve the state’s dispensing fee.

In a letter sent this week to Cindy Mann, director of CMS’ Center for Medicaid and State Operations, NCPA noted that Ohio’s proposal would slash the state’s already-low dispensing fee from $3.70 to $1.80.

The average state Medicaid dispensing fee is $5.02, compared with the pharmacy cost of dispensing of $10.23 in Ohio and $11.01 nationally, according to an NCPA analysis.

If the dispensing fee cut is approved, it could hike health care costs, reduce access to care for Medicaid patients and harm the business of independent pharmacies in Ohio, NCPA explained in the letter.

"NCPA is very concerned that the drastic proposed cut in the pharmacy dispensing fee will have a devastating effect on independent community pharmacies," John Coster, NCPA senior vice president for government affairs, stated in the letter. "Independent pharmacies serve a significant number of Medicaid beneficiaries and derive on average about 15.5% of their total revenue from such business."

Coster pointed out that community pharmacists could help Ohio save on health care expenses in a number ways.

"Independent community pharmacists can play an active role in reducing health care costs by promoting the optimal use of prescription drugs and counseling beneficiaries to remain adherent to their drug regimens," he wrote in the letter. "These actions alone can reduce the number of hospitalizations and emergency room visits that are ultimately more costly to the Medicaid system than pharmacy reimbursement. Alternate solutions to reduction of pharmacy dispensing fees that will save states in reduced drug costs include step therapy, therapeutic substitution and medication therapy management."


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