Two pieces of news provide a flicker of hope amid the doom and gloom.
To: HEALTH/MEDICAL EDITORS
Contact: Erica Jefferson of the APhA, +1-202-429-7537, firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, July 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) joins Representatives Mike Ross, Marion Berry and Charlie Wilson in urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to delay implementation of a new federal mandate requiring the use of tamper-resistant prescription pads for all Medicaid prescription orders beginning October 1, 2007. Enacted as a cost-saving measure in the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations (Public Law 110-28), precious little time remains to educate prescribers, pharmacists and patients on this requirement, before pharmacists are forced to turn patients away for not presenting prescriptions on "approved tamper-resistant" paper.
Dennis Smith, CMS' Director for Medicaid and State Operations, told the House Small Business Committee earlier today that it is the intention of CMS to comply with Congress' statutory guideline for implementation. Adding that many states already have similar requirements, and asserting that implementation would only need to take place in the remaining states.
"What Mr. Smith failed to note," explained John A. Gans, APhA Executive Vice President and CEO, "is that it took states like New York 18 months to implement such programs -- a timeline that is in stark contrast to the 3 months called for by Congress. And -- in almost all of these states the tamper-resistant requirement was limited to a much smaller group of medications not 'every prescription'. So, I am pleased that Reps. Ross, Berry and Wilson introduced legislation today to limit the scope of this federal mandate to only controlled substances."
The Congressmen circulated a letter earlier today urging their colleagues to contact Medicaid officials and urge delayed implementation. In an effort to ensure that patient care does not suffer, they are urging CMS to "provide guidance on the program's initial implementation phase, asking that pharmacists be held harmless and receive prompt payment for filling legitimate prescription orders necessary to the continuity of patient care even when those orders may not fully meet the tamper-resistant requirements."
APhA, the largest professional society of pharmacists in the country, thanks Reps. Ross, Berry and Wilson for their continued commitment to patient care and joins in their efforts to call for delayed implementation. APhA's letter to CMS is available at: http://www.aphanet.org/AM/Template.cfm?SectionHome&CONTENTID8196&TEMPLATE/C M/ContentDisplay.cfm.
The American Pharmacists Association, founded in 1852 as the American Pharmaceutical Association, represents more than 60,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and others interested in advancing the profession. APhA, dedicated to helping all pharmacists improve medication use and advance patient care, is the first-established and largest association of pharmacists in the United States. SOURCE American Pharmacists Association