Pharmacy Relieved about Final Rule on DMEPOS Bidding

Article excerpt

Community pharmacy is pleased with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' long-awaited final rule- published in the Federal Register on April 10-on competitive bidding for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS). In it, CMS excluded diabetes monitors and testing supplies from competitive bidding for retail suppliers. Only mailorder diabetes supplies along with other DMEPOS are subject to bidding.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores released this statement, "The regulation establishes that bidding on the ability to deliver diabetes supplies will be limited to mail-order suppliers, and that drugs sold by retail pharmacy will not be required to be bid. Drugs sold at retail will continue to be reimbursed for now based on the Medicare fee schedule, rather than at the lowest price bid. This should ensure that patients with diabetes will continue to have access to their neighborhood pharmacies and to crucial continuity of care."

Mary Ann Wagner, NACDS senior VP, policy and pharmacy regulatory affairs, added, "We're pleased that CMS heard our concerns and was responsive to the needs of community pharmacy and pharmacy patients."

Bill Popomaronis, R.Ph., National Community Pharmacists Association VP, long-term and home health care pharmacy services and a member of CMS' Program Advisory and Oversight Committee, told DrMg Topics, "The news is positive for community pharmacy. Everybody can still go to a retail community pharmacy and [the pharmacy] will be paid at the current allowable. Mailorder companies must submit a bid if they want to continue to supply diabetes testing supplies. CMS understands that community pharmacies cannot purchase at the same price as mail order. There's a recognition by CMS that access to diabetes supplies in community pharmacies is extremely important because we provide ready access to these supplies. It is dear that by exempting community pharmacists from competitive bidding, CMS recognizes there's a difference between mailorder pharmacy providers and community pharmacy providers."

Commenting on CMS' regulation, which provides protections for small providers, including establishing a target number for small suppliers equal to 30% of the number of winning suppliers, Popomaronis said, "CMS designated a 30% target rule to make every effort to include up to 30% of small suppliers in a competitive bid product category. …