NCPA and others will need to bring freshman Congress class up to speed in record time

The National Community Pharmacists Association last week noted that language in the "fiscal cliff" legislation that averted the worst of potential tax consequences for individuals nonetheless had a chance to negatively impact diabetics who buy their supplies from their local community pharmacy. 

So while Wall Street was rocking and rolling last week on the news that the economy wouldn't be hurdling down the same road traveled by Thelma & Louise, at least not yet, the news brought to light another issue — the new Congress, with its freshman class of 97 legislators, will be addressing plenty of mature problems — such as the consequences of not exempting independent pharmacies from competitive bidding when it comes to durable medical equipment and diabetes supplies. 

So here's a quick refresher, courtesy of the Office of Inspector General. It's a document released on Nov. 7, 2012 that "appears to reinforce three things about mail order health care: 1) it’s not for everyone; 2) it results in wasteful “auto-shipping” of medical products; and 3) it’s more expensive than advertised," according to an article published in NCPA's The Dose

In a nutshell, the OIG found that the use of non-mail order sources for diabetic testing supplies increased by 33% when competitive bidding was implemented. Why? Well, 10% switched because they didn't like mail, according to the report in The Dose, and 5% switched because mail order sent them supplies they never really needed in the first place. 

In the event that you are a show-me person, and would like to see what kind of waste of diabetes supplies can accumulate via mail order, check out this YouTube video posted by Oklahoma pharmacist Todd Pendergraft of Broken Arrow Family Drug.  

Lobbying groups like NCPA and others are going to have their work cut out for them this year as they bring all the freshman Congress leaders up to speed on pertinent health delivery issues. And time is of the essence, with states and employers preparing for the implementation of the lion's share of healthcare reform less than one year from now. 

What are your key issues? When targeting the 2013 freshman class, what should NCPA's government relations team be focusing on?