New Medicare Access Analysis Underscores Need for 'Any Willing Pharmacy' Policy in Part D

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National Community Pharmacists Association CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, issued the following statement today in response to the detailed "preferred pharmacy" access analysis released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

PRESS RELEASE

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Feb. 12, 2016) - National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA issued the following statement today in response to the detailed "preferred pharmacy" access analysis released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and conducted in response to concerns raised by NCPA, beneficiary advocates and others:

"We appreciate Medicare officials acting on the concerns that NCPA members, beneficiaries, patient advocacy organizations and members of Congress have raised. We are still reviewing the full CMS analysis. Our initial reaction is that more work must be done in this area.

"The CMS analysis documents progress yet still identifies many plans that are 'access outliers' that impact a significant number of beneficiaries. Indeed, this total could be higher because CMS excluded from this analysis plans granted waivers to the retail pharmacy convenient access standard requirement. The marketing disclaimers, while appreciated, come well after the 2016 enrollment period concluded and six weeks into the plan year.

"In addition, the format in which this data has been posted should be more accessible to the average Medicare beneficiary or their caregiver. Information of this importance should be incorporated into Medicare Plan Finder prominently—and before beneficiaries research their enrollment decisions.

"Beneficiaries need swifter relief and protection. To that end, we encourage Medicare officials to implement an 'any willing pharmacy' policy and Congress to enact H.R. 793 / S. 1190. This would allow beneficiaries in medically underserved areas to access their prescription drugs at a community pharmacy that accepts the drug plan's terms and conditions and can serve those patients. Medicare officials have already acknowledged that this is 'the best way to encourage price competition and lower costs in the Part D program.'"

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