Rx association feels ‘responsibility’ to police itself

Sunday, July 13, 2003

July 14, 2003

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has developed a 40-hour program that trains pharmacists and allied health professionals, including DMEs, on how to properly fit therapeutic footwear.

The new course is in response to a CMS initiative to clarify ambiguous language regarding who can provide therapeutic footwear. Some fear the initiative could limit the provision of therapeutic footwear to podiatrists, pedorthists, orthotists and prosthetists. Currently, much of the Medicare therapeutic shoe business falls to pharmacists, DME providers or others who have been trained to fit the shoes, often by shoe manufacturers.

“I think (the course) will achieve our goal of having pharmacists have standards and a code of conduct that the nation will be proud of,” said Bill Popomaronis, NCPA’s director of pharmacy specialty services. “We feel a responsibility to police ourselves.”

NCPA officials hope CMS views the instruction as comprehensive and as such won’t bar providers who complete it from furnishing the footwear.

NCPA represents almost half the 25,000 independent pharmacists in the United States.