NCPA commends CMS' decision to delay 'short-cycle' rule for LTC pharmacies

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced this week it would delay implementation of its proposed Medicare Part D long-term care “short-cycle” rule for one year.

The decision was applauded by the National Community Pharmacists Association, which has long advocated the delay of the short-cycle implementation, which now will go into effect Jan. 1, 2013. NCPA also said the decision would ease the requirements on how LTC pharmacies account for dispensed but unused medications, in addition to requiring that LTC pharmacies dispense solid oral doses of brand-name medications in 14-day-or-less supplies, compared with the more "onerous" seven-day-or-less mandate in CMS’ proposed rule, the lobbying group said.

“Medicare officials are doing the right thing for patients and the long-term care pharmacists who serve them,” said NCPA EVP and CEO Douglas Hoey. “Pharmacists are committed to working with Medicare and other health plans to reduce costs, while maintaining quality care. However, there is no creditable evidence that this proposed move to shorter dispensing cycles would reduce costs, and in the end, we fear it could actually increase costs for taxpayers. That’s why a broad coalition of lawmakers and healthcare providers is urging CMS to hold off on the program to allow for data gathering necessary to implement this program intelligently.”

NCPA formed a long-term care division in 2010, which is active in seeking acceptable outcomes for such critical issues as short-cycle drug dispensing and nurse-as-agent.