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Lawmakers urge one-year transition period on Medicaid reimbursement implementation

BY Antoinette Alexander

ARLINGTON, Va. — This week, 49 members of the U.S. House of Representatives urged Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to adopt a one-year transition period for states to implement the July 2014 average manufacturer price-based federal upper limits. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores commended Reps. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, for leading the letter effort with their colleagues.

“We are greatly concerned that states are not prepared to make such a rapid transition, considering that CMS expects states, by July 2014 to modify both drug reimbursement and possibly dispensing fees for Medicaid reimbursement,” the lawmakers stated in the letter. “We urge CMS to permit states a transition period of one-year for implementation of the FULs, as well as corresponding dispensing fee changes once they have the information they need to make these changes.”

In the letter, the lawmakers emphasized the need for a transition period to help states meet the requirements of the final rule. “Most states face numerous obstacles to such a quick implementation, including the need for legislative or regulatory changes, legislative sessions this year that do not allow for Medicaid reimbursement changes, the need for cost-of-dispensing-fee studies to ensure accurate pharmacy reimbursement and/or will have to file a State Plan Amendment to implement the new FULs,” the letter stated.

NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson expressed appreciation to lawmakers in signing this letter, “The implementation of these AMP-based FULs poses great concern for pharmacy patient care, and we appreciate the recognition by House lawmakers of how this immediate reimbursement change could impact access to pharmacy services for low-income Americans.”

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Thrifty White to move forward with Health Outcomes store design

BY Antoinette Alexander

MAPLE GROVE, Minn. — Regional player Thrifty White plans to break ground during 2014 on 8-to-10 new stores that will include the Thrifty White Healthy Outcomes pharmacy design, according to Tim Erdle, EVP store operations and marketing.

These stores will be phased-in with construction completed between fall of 2014 and 2015 year-end.

The Thrifty Whites Healthy Outcomes pharmacy features a new design of kiosk drop-off and pickup counters, ask your pharmacist desk, patient wellness rooms, patient education kiosk, a digital television for patient programs and services, and a pharmacy drive-through.  

This is a new 3,000-sq.-ft. professional pharmacy proto-type with plans of seven to be opened in Minnesota, two in North Dakota and one in Iowa. The company also has the new proto-type model opening up in Mandan, N.D., on June 16.

The interior finishes will include a maple wood look throughout the store with maple flooring, maple pharmacy counters, store fixtures trimmed with maple and maple doors with frosted glass in the patient wellness rooms.

Thrifty White currently has 18 locations converted to its Healthy Outcomes format.

 

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Allergan confirms receipt of takeover bid from Valeant Pharmaceuticals

BY Michael Johnsen

IRVINE, Calif. — Allergan on Tuesday confirmed that it has received an unsolicited proposal from Valeant Pharmaceuticals to acquire all of the outstanding shares of the company for a combination of 0.83 of Valeant common shares and $48.30 in cash per share of common stock of Allergan.

The Allergan board of directors, in consultation with its financial and legal advisers, will carefully review and consider the proposal and pursue the course of action that it believes is in the best interests of the company’s stockholders. The company’s stockholders do not need to take any action at this time, Allergan stated. 

Goldman, Sachs and BofA Merrill Lynch are serving as financial advisers to Allergan, and Latham & Watkins is serving as legal counsel to the company.

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