NACDS applauds Congress for questioning CMS decision on retail medical equipment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores on Thursday commended congressional leaders for raising objections to a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services decision that threatens retail availability of durable medical equipment sold in the pharmacy.

CMS recently proposed not to exempt retail pharmacies from requirements to obtain accreditation in order to sell DME equipment.

Reps. Marion Berry, D-Ark., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., along with 24 of their colleagues, sent a letter to CMS requesting that pharmacies be exempted from DME accreditation.

“The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act provided CMS with the clear authority to exempt providers of durable medical equipment,” the letter stated.  “MIPPA further clarifies that such providers may be exempt, based on their licensing, accreditation or other mandatory quality requirements that may apply.  Pharmacies are licensed and highly regulated under state pharmacy practice laws and regulations.

An accreditation requirement to provide DME to Medicare patients is duplicative and unnecessary, and could threaten Medicare beneficiaries’ access to these products.  In addition, the accreditation process places substantial costs upon pharmacy suppliers, from hundreds of thousands of dollars up to millions of dollars for large pharmacy suppliers.”

“Without this change, Medicare patients may be unable to access necessary medical equipment and products,” stated NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson. “Since DME sales often account for a small percentage of the average pharmacy's business and the accreditation is very costly, some pharmacies may unfortunately be unable to provide these products.  Therefore, we commend the tremendous leadership of Reps. Marion Berry and Jerry Moran for urging CMS to exempt pharmacies from burdensome and unfair standards and requirements.”