Alexandria, Va. (Jan. 1, 2013) - (Jan. 1, 2013) – Pharmacist and Senior Vice President for Government Affairs John Coster, RPh, PhD of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) issued the following statement today regarding the so-called “fiscal cliff” budget agreement approved by the U.S. Senate and pending in the U.S. House of Representatives:
“NCPA strongly opposes language in the legislation that would effectively force many community pharmacists to stop providing diabetes test supplies (DTS) to Medicare beneficiaries. The bill would do this by applying DTS reimbursement rates to local pharmacies that are effectively set by large mail order operations. NCPA has repeatedly outlined to Congress and Medicare officials the shortcomings in such an approach. Round 1 of the competitive bid program has validated NCPA’s concerns, including waste in mail order and patients’ strong preference for a face-to-face health care experience with a local provider.
“If House leaders decide to amend this legislation, NCPA urges them to consider modifying this provision to allow for a narrow exemption for small, independent pharmacies (defined as 10 or less). Independent pharmacies often are in underserved rural and inner-city locations and such an exemption would preserve access to these essential medical products and the consultation on their proper use for some of the most vulnerable patients. Such an exemption has bipartisan support and bipartisan legislation, H.R. 1936, would implement this policy.
“At the same time, the legislation includes several provisions that NCPA supports. We commend the temporary delay in the cuts to Medicare and the TRICARE program. In addition, the bill features tax provisions that, when compared to the policies that would otherwise take effect in 2013, would make it easier for family owned, independent community pharmacies to be passed from one generation to the next to continue serving their patients and contributing to their local economies. Other business tax provisions are also beneficial for small business community pharmacy owners.
“We appreciate the efforts of White House officials and members of Congress of both parties during these negotiations and the difficult choices that they face. NCPA members and staff look forward to continuing to work with them constructively on behalf of independent community pharmacists and the patients they serve.”