Letter - Pharmacist Speaks Up for Diabetic Seniors on Medicare

As submitted to The Washington Post

To the Editor:

If Medicare officials proceed with dramatic reductions in reimbursement for diabetes test supplies (DTS), they should at least lift a senseless ban on same-day, home deliveries by independent community pharmacists to homebound seniors and beneficiaries in assisted living facilities ("Medicare Changes Must Be Implemented Now", June 15, 2013).

Starting July 1, Medicare will pay the same amount whether patients access their diabetes testing supplies face-to-face from a local health care provider or through the mail, but the agency's new definition of "mail order" would prohibit community pharmacies from continuing to provide delivery services.

Many seniors may experience some disruption as both the providers and the equipment to which they are accustomed may no longer be available to them. Some beneficiaries have relied on their community pharmacy for decades. There's no justification for banning these trusted providers from furnishing this service to some of Medicare's frailest populations—beneficiaries who are homebound or in assisted living facilities—at no added cost to the government.

B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA
National Community Pharmacists Association
Alexandria, VA

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