GLUCOSE MONITOR RESTRICTIONS MAY BE TROUBLESOME
The results of a new study releasedby the National Association of ChainDrug Stores (NACDS) predict problemsahead for Medicare beneficiarieswith diabetes if blood glucose monitorsand related testing supplies areincluded in the new Medicare competitiveacquisition program scheduledto start in 2007.
The study, conducted for the chaindrug industry group by Health PolicyR&D, raises particular concerns aboutthe ability of pharmacies to continueto supply blood glucose monitorsunder the new program. These monitors,which NACDS called "an integralpart of disease management forpatients with diabetes," are currentlycovered under the durable medicalequipment benefit in Medicare Part B.
Shifting glucose monitors and suppliesto the competitive bidding system"could create a situation whereMedicare beneficiaries with diabetesmight be unable to access allaspects of their glucose managementregimen—including their medications,monitors, supplies, andrelated professional services—fromtheir community pharmacy ofchoice," NACDS said.
"CMS [Centers for Medicare &Medicaid Services] needs to beaware that competitive bidding forblood glucose meters and relatedsupplies under Medicare Part Bcould potentially do more harm thangood for beneficiaries," NACDSSenior Vice President Mary AnnWagner said.