House delays accreditation requirement for pharmacies

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill today that will push the accreditation deadline for pharmacies to Dec. 31, 2009.

Industry stakeholders expect Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., to introduce a companion bill in the Senate. That bill could be introduced and voted on as early as this afternoon.

"We're getting down to the end, but this is the type of movement that will prevent patients from going to their community pharmacies tomorrow and being told they can't get their durable medical equipment there," said John Norton, associate director, public relations, for the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).

Today is the deadline for HME providers, including pharmacies, to become accredited.

Reps. Zach Space, D-Ohio, and Lee Terry, R-Neb., introduced the House bill, H.R. 3663, yesterday.

By delaying the deadline, the NCPA and other stakeholders buy themselves more time to get pharmacies exempted from the requirement, said Norton. Two bills introduced earlier this year that seek an exemption have been included in broader healthcare reform bills.

"There seems to be bipartisan consensus that Congress should deal with this," said Norton.