Posts Tagged 'Medicare'

The Morning After

By Kurt A. Proctor, Ph.D., RPh, NCPA Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives

After a great NCPA Annual Meeting in Austin, we weren’t done. On Wednesday, October 22nd we kept the momentum going with a day-long “Networking for High Performance Pharmacies” program for a standing room only crowd of 140 industry leaders. This provocative program afforded like-minded pharmacists not only the opportunity to get to know each other but to engage with public and private payers to hear about their plans for pay-for-performance and quality related network inclusion criteria.

Continue reading ‘The Morning After’

Medicare Reprimands PBMs over Apparent Prescription Drug Benefit Violations

By Kevin Schweers

On the eve of open enrollment for the 2015 plan year for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D drug plans, The New York Times has recounted concerns repeatedly raised by Medicare officials concerning pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) that have inappropriately delayed or denied access to prescription drugs. Continue reading ‘Medicare Reprimands PBMs over Apparent Prescription Drug Benefit Violations’

Independent Pharmacies Vital to Rural Health, Study Affirms

By Kevin Schweers

Independent community pharmacies continue to play a critical role in rural health care, according to new research. The ranks of these pharmacies declined slightly in recent years and somewhat stabilized after several turbulent years that coincided with implementation of the Medicare prescription drug benefit, researchers concluded.

Continue reading ‘Independent Pharmacies Vital to Rural Health, Study Affirms’

Legislation Promoting #PharmacyChoice for Seniors Now Has 74 Congressional Supporters

By Stephanie DuBois, Director, Marketing Communications

Sharing personal stories about the impact that so-called “preferred” networks have on their patients and businesses, community pharmacists around the country made their voices heard on social media during the August Congressional recess and in early September. Their powerful pleas helped to push the total number of Congressional supporters for critical pharmacy choice legislation to 74 as of Sept. 19. Continue reading ‘Legislation Promoting #PharmacyChoice for Seniors Now Has 74 Congressional Supporters’

Health Economist Shreds PBMs’ Claim of Large Cost Increase from “Any Willing Pharmacy” Medicare Proposal

By Kevin Schweers

Claims by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) that a massive cost increase would result from legislation giving Medicare seniors in medically underserved areas more convenient access to discounted or “preferred” copays are “theoretically baseless,” a noted health care economist and antitrust expert argues in a new analysis.

Continue reading ‘Health Economist Shreds PBMs’ Claim of Large Cost Increase from “Any Willing Pharmacy” Medicare Proposal’

NCPA Offers Medicare Recommendations for Pharmacy Care for Hospice Patients

By Kevin Schweers

NCPA is providing feedback and suggestions to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) officials grappling with unintended consequences impacting patient care in hospice settings stemming from a new policy the agency implemented May 1, 2014.

Continue reading ‘NCPA Offers Medicare Recommendations for Pharmacy Care for Hospice Patients’

#PharmacyChoice a Hot Topic on Social Media

By Stephanie DuBois, Associate Director, Marketing Communications

facebookCommunity pharmacists rallied on social media last week to highlight the negative impact that exclusive Medicare Part D preferred pharmacy networks have on patients and community pharmacies. Through communications to Capitol Hill as well as tweets and Facebook posts (using the hashtag #pharmacychoice), we continued to spread our message to patients, health care providers, and elected officials that willing community pharmacies are unfairly excluded from participating in “preferred” pharmacy networks.

Some examples of the #pharmacychoice posts we saw on Twitter and Facebook last week include these stories:

    • “@Commpharmacy a pt. has to get mail order (no copay) or pay full price for insulin (ave temp high 80/90s) after 2 refills #pharmacychoice” – via @Joe_Greenwood (note: @commpharmacy is NCPA’s Twitter handle.)
    • “@commpharmacy We’ve lost patients due to the Medicare Preferred Network and now they drive 40+ miles to get their drugs. #pharmacychoice” – via @StockstillsRx


  • “We are @BenFrankApoth & believe everybody should have right to choose their own pharmacy #PharmacyChoice #IAmSmallBiz” – via @BenFrankApoth
  • “We have a lot of patients who have changed due to lower co-pays or “preferred” status.” – via Facebook
  • “I still have some patients that prefer our service, enough to pay $75-$125 a copayment, but let’s face it, most people cannot afford to pay a higher copayment, regardless of how good my service is.” – via Facebook
  • “I have a patient who can’t afford the extra $27 for her copay at my pharmacy for her pain medication. The chain stores she asked to use won’t order her med until she brings the script. Sometimes she waits a week. With narcotics the chance for withdrawal is constantly on her mind now, but she doesn’t have the choice because of the money.” – via Facebook

Community pharmacists also urged their Representatives to support H.R. 4577, the Ensuring Seniors Access to Local Pharmacies Act, which now has 22 cosponsors. The legislation would allow any willing pharmacy located in a medically underserved area (such as rural areas or certain urban areas) to participate in Medicare Part D preferred networks.

Personal stories are the most effective messages we can share with elected officials. Please keep up the pressure and ask your Member of Congress to cosponsor H.R. 4577 and support #pharmacychoice. Access resources and learn more about this issue at

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