Pharmacy Group Pushes for Another DMEPOS Extension

A pharmacy industry group is still working to eliminate a new regulation that requires durable medical equipment suppliers to obtain a $50,000 surety bond as part of a new accreditation process.

In the mean time, the National Community Pharmacists Association is urging Congress to extend the Dec. 31 deadline into March 2010. That would mark the second extension this year for the controversial regulation.

Pharmacies were one of the few groups that did not receive an exemption from a new regulation governing durable medical equipment suppliers. The new rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid requires DME suppliers to obtain a $50,000 surety bond for each business outlet, among a host of other mandates.

The new CMS regulations included exemptions for several groups, but both nursing homes and pharmacies were not among them. Pharmacy groups had argued for months that the new requirements for sellers of  durable medical equipment and diabetic supplies shouldn’t apply to the industry.

About half of the nation’s 113,000 durable medical equipment providers are pharmacies, according to CMS estimates.

The NCPA has argued that pharmacies are rarely a source of DME fraud and that the regulations could curb sales and hamper patient access.

But the renewed push for another extension has some pharmacists fuming, according to HomeCare magazine.

A Maryland consultant told the medical equipment magazine that many pharmacists who met the initial Oct. 1 deadline are angered by the prospect of another extension for unaccredited outlets.

“The NCPA made it clear that they were trying to eliminate the requirement for pharmacies, and it is my experience that thousands of pharmacies that never started the process expect that the requirement will be eliminated,”  Mary Ellen Conway, president of Capital Healthcare Group, Bethesda, Md., told HomeCare. “Pharmacy owners I’ve worked with who did what they were required to do are very angry, and are hoping the exemption does not happen.”

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