CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
H.R. 3663 is being considered under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds vote for passage. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Zack Space (D-OH) on September 29, 2009.
H.R. 3663 would extend by three months-until January 1, 2010-implementation of a requirement that suppliers of durable medical equipment that are pharmacies obtain accreditation signifying compliance with quality standards issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The bill also includes language clarifying that the accreditation extension would not apply to those suppliers wishing to participate in competitive bidding for certain durable medical equipment.
Section 302(a) of the Medicare Modernization Act (P.L. 108-173) imposed accreditation requirements on suppliers of durable medical equipment as one of several measures designed to combat fraud, and Section 154(b) of the Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act (P.L. 110-275) imposed a deadline of October 1, 2009, for certain providers to complete the accreditation process. While physicians and certain other providers are exempt from the accreditation, pharmacies are subject to the statutory requirement. (The accreditation requirement would apply to pharmacies, not pharmacists.)
Section 1148(c) of H.R. 3200 as introduced and the health "reform" bill being considered by the Senate Finance Committee would both exempt pharmacies that supply diabetic testing strips, crutches, or canes from the accreditation requirement. H.R. 3663 would provide a three month extension for pharmacies to allow more to complete the accreditation process, which takes approximately 4-6 months; according to industry sources, approximately half of the 23,000 independent pharmacies are accredited, with most major chains (e.g., CVS, Walgreens, etc.) having completed the process.
A formal Congressional Budget Office was not available at press time; however, the bill is not expected to have a budgetary impact.