Published Online: Saturday, December 1, 2007

A spokesman for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) raised troubling concerns to Congress about a new competitive bidding program for Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) being implemented by federal officials.

In testimony before the US House of Representatives Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, Navarro Discount Pharmacies former Chief Executive Officer Jose Navarro warned that the new system could chase drug stores away from the program.

?Retail pharmacies are the largest providers of DMEPOS services to Medicare patients and are in a unique position to monitor trends in diseases and therapy outcomes,? said Navarro. ?But some of the provisions of the competitive acquisition program and other rules proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for DMEPOS suppliers could prevent pharmacies from effectively serving their Medicare patients.?

According to the NACDS, ?the competitive acquisition program?s onerous requirements, such as accreditation of pharmacies, and the CMS-proposed $65,000 surety bond requirement for all DMEPOS suppliers, create significant administrative and financial burdens on pharmacies.?

Worse yet, plans to expand this program to establish national or regional competitive bidding areas for mail-order suppliers ?could significantly limit participation in the program by small pharmacies and reduce patient access to needed DMEPOS items,? warned the association.

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