Content about Medicare

June 4, 2013

A lot is said about how pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professionals, and one health insurer is taking advantage of this by sponsoring a series of special seminars for elderly people.

PHILADELPHIA — A lot is said about how pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professionals, and one health insurer is taking advantage of this by sponsoring a series of special seminars for elderly people.

June 4, 2013

The healthcare reform law will add 6 million Americans to Medicaid and 21 million to affordable insurance exchanges, according to a new study.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The healthcare reform law will add 6 million Americans to Medicaid and 21 million to affordable insurance exchanges, according to a new study.

May 31, 2013

The Pharmacy Quality Alliance has given one of its top awards to pharmacy benefit manager Catamaran Corp., the PBM said Friday.

LISLE, Ill. — The Pharmacy Quality Alliance has given one of its top awards to pharmacy benefit manager Catamaran Corp., the PBM said Friday.

Catamaran announced that it received a 2013 PQA Quality Award recognizing its five-star rating on all PQA measures in the Part D Star Ratings program. The PQA's stated goal is to improve patient health by championing clear performance measures for medication management, and the recognition program for prescription drug plans recognizes Medicare plans that have demonstrated outstanding performance in medication-related quality.

May 28, 2013

Why does the federal government want to block independent pharmacies from providing much-needed diabetes testing supplies to older homebound patients?

In a clear case of over-zealous federal policy-making and glacial government response time, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says it will do just that beginning in July. That’s when CMS has decreed it will no longer allow small community pharmacies to deliver diabetic test kits to homebound and long-term-care patients on Medicare.

Why does the federal government want to block independent pharmacies from providing much-needed diabetes testing supplies to older homebound patients?

In a clear case of over zealous federal policy-making and glacial government response time, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it will do just that beginning in July. That’s when CMS has decreed it will no longer allow small community pharmacies to deliver diabetic test kits to homebound and long-term care patients on Medicare.

May 23, 2013

More than half of all healthcare providers who are eligible have received Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments for electronic health records, the Department of Health and Human Services said.

WASHINGTON — More than half of all healthcare providers who are eligible have received Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments for electronic health records, the Department of Health and Human Services said.

HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the department had exceeded its goal for 50% of doctor offices and 80% of hospitals to have EHRs by the end of the year. By contrast, the percentage of physicians using EHRs in 2008 was 17%. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 contained incentive programs for adoption of EHRs that went into effect in 2011.

May 22, 2013

Several members of Congress are requesting that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reverse a decision to prohibit independent pharmacies from delivering diabetes-testing supplies to homebound seniors.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Several members of Congress are requesting that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reverse a decision to prohibit independent pharmacies from delivering diabetes-testing supplies to homebound seniors.

May 21, 2013

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has announced that, in written statements submitted for U.S. Senate and House of Representatives committee hearings this week, it noted the essential role of community pharmacy in the success of the 10-year-old Medicare Part D prescription drug program and urged program enhancements focused on the quality and affordability of care.



ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has announced that, in written statements submitted for U.S. Senate and House of Representatives committee hearings this week, it noted the essential role of community pharmacy in the success of the 10-year-old Medicare Part D prescription drug program and urged program enhancements focused on the quality and affordability of care.



May 20, 2013

CVS/pharmacy is reminding patients with diabetes that one of the most important ways they can manage their disease is to perform regular testing of their blood-sugar levels.

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy is reminding patients with diabetes that one of the most important ways they can manage their disease is to perform regular testing of their blood-sugar levels.

While the number of providers that will accept Medicare coverage for diabetes testing supplies is expected to decline after July 1, 2013 because of Medicare changes, CVS/pharmacy is informing those treating diabetes it will continue to accept Medicare Part B coverage for test strips and other diabetes testing supplies.

May 20, 2013

A recent survey commissioned on behalf of a pharmacy benefit manager trade group found a high degree of satisfaction among Medicare Part D beneficiaries with preferred pharmacy plans.

WASHINGTON — A recent survey commissioned on behalf of a pharmacy benefit manager trade group found a high degree of satisfaction among Medicare Part D beneficiaries with preferred pharmacy plans.

May 16, 2013

The Senate voted overwhelmingly to confirm a former Virginia Health and Human Services secretary as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Senate voted overwhelmingly to confirm a former Virginia Health and Human Services secretary as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Members of the Senate voted 91-7 in favor of confirming Marilyn Tavenner to lead CMS, drawing praise from a retail pharmacy trade group.

May 14, 2013

Medicare Part D plans that create tiered networks of pharmacies for beneficiaries need more oversight amid reports that small and medium-sized pharmacies are being excluded from them, several senators wrote in a letter last week to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

WASHINGTON — Medicare Part D plans that create tiered networks of pharmacies for beneficiaries need more oversight amid reports that small and medium-sized pharmacies are being excluded from them, several senators wrote in a letter last week to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

May 9, 2013

Cuts to Medicare payments due to the budget sequester have hit reimbursements for cancer drugs, according to a nonprofit group.

WASHINGTON — Cuts to Medicare payments due to the budget sequester have hit reimbursements for cancer drugs, according to a nonprofit group.

May 9, 2013

Bipartisan legislation that would let pharmacists devote more time to Medicare beneficiaries and less to adjudicating claims with pharmacy benefit management firms was introduced in the U.S. Senate and won the backing of the National Community Pharmacists Association earlier this week.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Bipartisan legislation that would let pharmacists devote more time to Medicare beneficiaries and less to adjudicating claims with pharmacy benefit management firms was introduced in the U.S. Senate and won the backing of the National Community Pharmacists Association earlier this week.

May 7, 2013

A Walgreens survey found that 37% of Medicare Part D beneficiaries have daily concerns about their prescription drug costs, and 1-in-5 say they’ve had to make sacrifices, such as delaying filling a prescription or skipping doses, to help manage medication costs.

DEERFIELD, Ill. — A Walgreens survey released Tuesday found that 37% of Medicare Part D beneficiaries have daily concerns about their prescription drug costs, and 1-in-5 say they’ve had to make sacrifices, such as delaying filling a prescription or skipping doses, to help manage medication costs.

That's almost 11.7 million seniors. 

May 2, 2013

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield has entered into a three-year agreement with CVS Caremark to provide pharmacy benefit and other related services to its commercial and Medicare Part D members, CareFirst announced earlier this week.

BALTIMORE, Md. — CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield has entered into a three-year agreement with CVS Caremark to provide pharmacy benefit and other related services to its commercial and Medicare Part D members, CareFirst announced earlier this week.

April 21, 2013

“We are writing history, and you are historic figures.” That was a key message that Steve Anderson, National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO, had for community pharmacy during Sunday morning’s business session at NACDS Annual Meeting as the association celebrates its 80th anniversary.

PALM BEACH, Fla. — “We are writing history, and you are historic figures.” That was a key message that Steve Anderson, National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO, had for community pharmacy during Sunday morning’s business session at NACDS Annual Meeting as the association celebrates its 80th anniversary. Prior to Anderson taking the stage, Greg Wasson, out-going chairman of the NACDS board and president and CEO of Walgreens, made his state of the industry remarks.

April 19, 2013

A report released yesterday by the Bipartisan Policy Center, entitled “A Bipartisan Rx for Patient-Centered Care and System-Wide Cost Containment,” contains a smart, forward-looking and no-cost recommendation that could save the government billions, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association said.

WASHINGTON — A report released yesterday by the Bipartisan Policy Center, entitled “A Bipartisan Rx for Patient-Centered Care and System-Wide Cost Containment,” contains a smart, forward-looking and no-cost recommendation that could save the government billions, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association said today.

April 16, 2013

Does the Obama administration “get it” when it comes to pharmacy’s vital interests and lowering health care costs?

One sometimes wonders. As much as I like the president and many of his ideas and instincts, I’m sometimes stumped by some of the lesser-understood facets of the administration’s health policy, and by the seemingly contradictory sets of priorities promoted by that policy.

Does the Obama administration “get it” when it comes to pharmacy’s vital interests and lowering healthcare costs?

One sometimes wonders. As much as I like the president and many of his ideas and instincts, I’m sometimes stumped by some of the lesser-understood facets of the administration’s health policy, and by the seemingly contradictory sets of priorities promoted by that policy.

April 16, 2013

DSN spoke at length with two Catamaran executives — Albert Thigpen, SVP pharmacy operations and industry relations, and Sumit Dutta, SVP and chief medical officer — about the PBM’s new approach to managed pharmacy care and the changes driving that strategy.

The health and pharmacy marketplace is undergoing rapid and fundamental transformation. To navigate profitably in tomorrow’s complex and shifting healthcare system, the pharmacy benefit management industry — along with the pharmacies and health plan payers allied with PBMs — are going to have to change and adapt as well.

April 12, 2013

A proposal to further reduce Medicaid drug reimbursement that was included in President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget plan is “premature” and federal Medicaid officials should focus on modifying and completing already proposed regulations to set future federal upper limits for reimbursement of most generic drugs, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association said.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A proposal to further reduce Medicaid drug reimbursement that was included in President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget plan is “premature” and federal Medicaid officials should focus on modifying and completing already proposed regulations to set future federal upper limits for reimbursement of most generic drugs, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association argued on Friday.

April 12, 2013

Healthcare accrediting organization URAC is calling for public comment on a new set of standards it has issued for accountable care, the group said.

WASHINGTON — Healthcare accrediting organization URAC is calling for public comment on a new set of standards it has issued for accountable care, the group said.

April 11, 2013

QS/1 has released Medicare Part B compliance documentation, which it said would be the first of its type on the market to help pharmacies that want to serve Part B customers while remaining compliant, the company said.

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — QS/1 has released Medicare Part B compliance documentation, which it said would be the first of its type on the market to help pharmacies that want to serve Part B customers while remaining compliant, the company said.

QS/1 said its Medicare Part B Compliance Documentation software system was the first of its kind, allowing pharmacies using NRx or PrimeCare Pharmacy Management Systems to serve Medicare Part B customer needs while keeping necessary documents in the event of an audit.

April 9, 2013

A desire to save money is driving younger and older adults to request cheaper drugs from their doctors, but it's also driving younger adults not to take their drugs as prescribed, according to a new study.

NEW YORK — A desire to save money is driving younger and older adults to request cheaper drugs from their doctors, but it's also driving younger adults not to take their drugs as prescribed, according to a new study.

April 4, 2013

The annual cost of treating dementia in the United States ranges from $157 billion to $215 billion, according to a new study by the RAND Corp.

NEW YORK — The annual cost of treating dementia in the United States ranges from $157 billion to $215 billion, according to a new study by the RAND Corp.

The research organization said that number meant dementia costs more to treat than cancer or heart disease, with the greatest cost coming from institutional and home-based long-term care, as opposed to medical services.

April 3, 2013

The recent call letter released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services addresses issues that can have an adverse effect on the program's cost and quality of care, a trade group representing independent retail pharmacies said Wednesday.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The recent call letter released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services addresses issues that can have an adverse effect on the program's cost and quality of care, a trade group representing independent retail pharmacies said Wednesday.

Commenting on the CMS' announcement, the National Community Pharmacists Association said it had prepared a detailed list for its members.