Published Online: Sunday, July 1, 2007

A new "any willing provider" requirement would be added to the Medicare Part D prescription drug law, under a change proposed to Congress by the nation?s chain drugstores.

In comments to the Senate Finance Committee, representatives from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) urged lawmakers to "clarify that Part D plans are to allow any pharmacy that is willing to meet the plan?s terms and conditions to participate in its network at the time the pharmacy is willing to do so, and not be required to wait until the following year." Entitling pharmacies to join networks at any time "would maximize access and convenience for beneficiaries," maintained a representative from the NACDS.

The chain pharmacy group also called for additional modifications to Part D enabling community pharmacies to dispense 90-day supplies of medication to Medicare patients, and suggested imposing new requirements on plan sponsors to pay pharmacies for Part D services promptly.

These plans should be directed to "update their pricing benchmarks on a daily basis, to prevent financial difficulties related to the traditionally ?lower, slower? payments for prescriptions filled through Medicare Part D plans," the NACDs representative said.

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