Accreditation gets a pass, too
Independent pharmacists who haven't begun the accreditation process see CMS's continual pushing back of accreditation deadlines as an excuse to procrastinate, said industry consultant Bob Weir.
"It's human nature to put it off," said Weir, who's also a surveyor for HQAA. "A lot of pharmacies think it's like getting a certificate from a shoe manufacturer," he said. "They don't understand it's a whole process."
To help rectify that, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has reached out to its 24,000 members with education and tools to help pharmacists understand national competitive bidding (NCB) and accreditation, and in February, it launched an informational Web site, www.pharmacistelink.com. Bill Popomaronis, NCPA's vice president of long term and home health care, said that ultimately, everyone will need to get accredited.
"We want to provide the tools to help them understand the process and drive down costs," he said. "It has to be more than just a manual. It has to be woven into the fabric of the business."
NCPA partnered with The VGM Group in April to form the CP Advantage Program, helping pharmacies enter the HME market.
VGM Vice President Pat Suda said she's received many inquiries from pharmacies and expects that over the next year, more will move toward accreditation.
"When you talk to anybody from the pharmacy side, they are all saying they need to do other things," said Suda. "They are not making money on drugs any more."