DearColleague.us

Letter

From: The Honorable Zachary T. Space

Sent By: Ryan.Mann@mail.house.gov

Bill: H.R. 1970

Date: 6/10/2009

PROTECT THE WORK OF COMMUNITY PHARMACISTS

Cosponsor HR 1970, the Preserve Patient Access to Reputable DMEPOS Providers Act of 2009

Endorsed by the National Community Pharmacists Association and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores

Current cosponsors (26): Alexander, Berman, Berry, Boozman, Boswell, Boucher, Boyd, Braley,

Carney, Emerson*, Fleming, Gordon, Holden, Jones, Kagen, Latham, Loebsack, McMorris Rodgers,

Jerry Moran, Paul, Rehberg, Mike Rogers (AL), Skelton, Mike Thompson, Wamp, Welch Dear Colleague:

The relationship between pharmacists and patients is a critical part of the healthcare delivery system. Patients depend on community pharmacists for information and counseling to assure that they receive quality products and medical services. Pharmacists also play a critical role in the fight against chronic diseases by counseling patients about medication adherence, blood glucose monitoring, smoking cessation and other important healthcare activities.

However, a new CMS regulation threatens to impede the ability of pharmacists to offer access to needed medical equipment and Part B drugs for Medicare beneficiaries. In particular, a January 2, 2009, CMS regulation requires pharmacies to purchase a $50,000 surety bond by October 2, 2009 (or by May 4, 2009 in the case of new pharmacies), in order to furnish durable medical equipment and Part B drugs to

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Medicare beneficiaries. The surety bond requirement is of grave concern as it creates new financial and administrative burdens on pharmacies that offer prescribed drugs and medical supplies to our nation’s seniors and most vulnerable populations.

Pharmacies and pharmacists are licensed by their state boards of pharmacy to provide healthcare services to patients and are heavily regulated by state and federal agencies. Despite the assurances provided by licensing and the critical patient care functions they perform, CMS did not include state-licensed pharmacies or pharmacists in the list of healthcare providers that were exempted from the onerous surety bond requirement.

To address this issue, we introduced bipartisan legislation that would eliminate the required purchase of a surety bond for America’s state-licensed pharmacies. Particularly in small towns and communities where access is limited, we simply cannot afford to place Medicare beneficiaries’ health at risk by reducing access to medications, supplies and pharmacists’ counseling if pharmacies are unable to continue providing services as a result of the surety bond.

We hope you will join us in this fight for fairness for America’s community pharmacists and pharmacies. Please contact Ryan Mann (ryan.mann@mail.house.gov) with Congressman Space or Andrea Uckele (andrea.uckele@mail.house.gov) with Congresswoman Emerson.

Sincerely,

__________________________ __________________________

ZACK SPACE JO ANN EMERSON