Diabetes supplies: H.R. 2845 seeks to remedy criticisms

Friday, August 23, 2013

WASHINGTON – In response to rising complaints over a lack of access, Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., has introduced legislation that would allow pharmacies to deliver diabetes testing supplies.

“These services are especially vital to patients who are homebound or in assisted living facilities,” said Kevin Schweers, senior vice president of government affairs for the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).

Introduced July 26, H.R. 2845 seeks to allow community pharmacies to deliver supplies to Medicare beneficiaries who are homebound or reside in long-term care facilities. Until the July 1 implementation of the national mail-order program for diabetes testing supplies, pharmacies and home medical equipment suppliers were allowed to offer home delivery.

The NCPA has been gathering complaints from its members, who report issues like patients running out of supplies because they didn’t understand the change in policy. 

“With pharmacies already delivering medication to these patients, allowing them to also deliver diabetes testing supplies makes sense and enhances the continuity of care at no added cost to Medicare,” said Schweers.

Although H.R. 2845 is specific to pharmacy, it highlights broader problems with the mail-order program, especially in rural states, say stakeholders.

“The population in those areas tends to be more geared toward the community, especially as they get older,” said Peter Rankin, government affairs manager for AAHomecare. “They develop relationships with the community pharmacy and there’s a comfort level there.”