Simpler accreditation for Rx?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - With accreditation requirements almost a sure bet for pharmacies, the National Community Pharmacists Association is working with accrediting bodies on Rx-friendly quality standards.
The NCPA has long argued that pharmacists are already highly educated and licensed and that additional accreditation requirements would place undue burdens on pharmacies and eliminate access for patients.
"I think CMS is interested in addressing the standards and recognizing the value that pharmacy brings to the beneficiaries," said Bill Popomaronis, NCPA vice president of long term and home health care. "They need to do everything they can not to make it difficult for beneficiaries."
Certain standards--like billing, employee policies and infection control protocols--apply to all businesses selling HME. But many pharmacies stock just a few routine items such as orthotics, diabetic supplies, canes and other simple DME.
"Obviously, some standards wouldn't apply," said MaryAnn Popovich, executive director of JCAHO.
Most accrediting agencies already have programs geared toward pharmacies.
Sandra Cannally, president of the Compliance Team, offers a boutique pharmacy program that accredits pharmacists without "reinventing the wheel."
"It's simple and easy to understand and relates directly to what CMS requires," said Cannally.
ACHC tailored its existing program for retail providers, said Tim Safley, HME clinical adviser.
"We spent many nights after the standards were released trying to rework what we think is fair to pharmacy," said Safley.
Mary Nicholas, executive director of HQAA, said as long as there is a framework of Medicare-approved standards, she can put together modules that apply specifically to pharmacies.
"We're doing all the prep work now and looking at a cost that would be commensurate with the level of accreditation," said Nicholas. "(Once CMS makes its final decisions), my road will be paved rather than gravel." hme