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Medicare Agency’s DIR Fees Proposal Attracts Substantial Congressional Support

Tuesday, January 16, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Janet Anderson
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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Jan. 16, 2018) – A bipartisan group of 80 U.S. Representatives has endorsed a proposal that could apply pharmacy direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees at the point-of-sale rather than after the fact. The proposal is part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ 2019 proposed Medicare Part D rule. Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) and Peter Welch (D- Vt.) spear-headed the efforts to get their colleagues on to the letter. “Many of my constituents and people across the country depend on community pharmacies,” said Griffith. “The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services would provide these pharmacies with fairness and transparency by effectively ending retroactive Direct and Indirect Remuneration (DIR) fees. This reform will help community pharmacists continue their important work serving patients.” The number of Congressional signatories has grown considerably since an earlier letter calling for an end to retroactive fees was first submitted to CMS in June 2016. “Rural pharmacies are an essential component of health care delivery in small communities across America,” said Welch. “Vermont’s small pharmacies provide quality service and essential medication every day. Their long-term viability is essential to the health of our communities and this proposal will help ensure they succeed in this vital mission." In response to this Congressional show of support, National Community Pharmacists Association CEO B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA, issued the following statement: “Strong Congressional support adds considerable momentum to our efforts to end the retroactive nature of pharmacy DIR fees in Medicare Part D. Charged retroactively, DIR fees unnecessarily add costs for patients while creating financial uncertainty for pharmacies. CMS has indicated that, even when considering the potential for slight increases in monthly premiums that CMS predicts, beneficiaries would realize net savings of $10.4 billion. “Members of Congress have been a powerful ally to NCPA in advocating for this important change, and we’re grateful for their leadership.”

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