ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Steve Anderson, president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, has praised President Obama for signing into law legislation that extends durable medical equipment (DME) accreditation.
“We applaud President Obama for signing into law legislation that will extend the accreditation requirement for pharmacies to provide DME in the Medicare Part B program until January 1, 2010,” Anderson said.
He stated that the legislation will help ensure that Medicare beneficiaries can continue to obtain diabetic supplies, other DME products and counseling from their pharmacists and pharmacies.
“The law will help avert serious disruptions in Medicare beneficiaries accessing critical medical supplies from their neighborhood pharmacy,” said Anderson.
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, he noted.
“NACDS expresses a sincere thank you to several key members of Congress for their leadership and diligence to make this delay a reality for pharmacies," he said.
Anderson went on to name Reps. Zack Space (D., Ohio), Lee Terry (R., Neb.), Henry Waxman (D., Calif.), Frank Pallone (D., N.J.), Joe Barton (R., Texas) and Senators Jon Tester (D., Mont.), Sam Brownback (R., Kan.), Max Baucus (D., Mont.) and Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa).
In a letter to the above-mentioned members of Congress, Anderson also thanked them for introducing legislation H.R. 1970, the Preserve Patient Access to Reputable DMEPOS Providers Act, which would provide a conditional exception for pharmacies for the surety bond requirement.
“As you know, while the House version of the health care reform bill includes a provision that waives the surety bond requirement for pharmacies enrolled as a supplier in Medicare Part B for the last five years that have never had an adverse action, the Senate Finance Committee bill only includes an exemption for pharmacies from the accreditation requirement,” the letter read.
The surety bond is of particular concern to chain pharmacies for several reasons. They say the insurance they are required to provide Medicare far exceeds the amount of risk they pose. The required bonded amount is on average several times greater than a pharmacy’s annual total DME sales.
Bonds are also necessary for construction, new store expansion, trade, customs and other operational reasons. The amount of bonding needed could require pharmacies to exceed their bond capacity.