Wednesday, October 26, 2016

CMS Updates: New Emergency Preparedness Rule Announced

Intelligent Solutions in Pharmacy Benefits
612 Wheelers Farms Road, Milford, CT 06461
(888) 797-2479

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently finalized a new rule to be implemented by November 15, 2017 to create consistent emergency preparedness requirements for participating Medicare and Medicaid health care providers, as well as a better coordinated response to both man-made and natural disasters in an effort to increase patient safety during times of emergency.
CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule | PBIRx
Before we dive into some of the specifics, let us answer the question: Why was this new rule proposed and officially finalized in September 2016? 

CMS explains that over the past few years, there have been several man-made and natural catastrophes that have resulted in the health and safety of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries being put at great risk. As a result, the purpose of the new emergency preparedness requirements is to have participating providers and suppliers be more prepared to cater to patients during any future disaster or other emergency. Ultimately, these providers and suppliers will need to work with state, tribal, regional, local and federal emergency preparedness systems in an effort to make sure that their facilities are ready to care for patients.

After an in-depth review of current emergency preparedness rules and regulations, CMS hopes to bridge any gaps that were originally present by requiring providers and suppliers, who participate in Medicare or Medicaid, to take the following actions:
  1. Create an emergency plan. Participating providers must come up with an emergency plan using an all-hazards approach that focuses on “capacities and capabilities that are critical to preparedness for a full spectrum of emergencies or disasters specific to the location of a provider or supplier”.
  2. Establish policies and procedures. Participating providers must create, and then implement, policies and procedures based upon their risk assessment and emergency plan.
  3. Have a communication plan. Participating providers will need to come up with a communication plan that is aligned with Federal and State law. CMS explains that within this plan, “patient care must be well-coordinated within the facility, across health care providers, and with State and local public health departments and emergency systems”.
  4. Develop a training and testing program. Participating providers are expected to create and maintain strong training and testing programs – both initial and annual trainings are to be included. They must also take part in drills and exercises OR take part in an incident that tests the success of the plan.
For additional specifics about the CMS’ new emergency preparedness requirements, check out this chart, where the requirements are outlined based on provider type.

PBIRx has been exclusively providing intelligent solutions to clients in the management of pharmacy benefit costs since 1993. With a staff that includes IT personnel, actuaries, financial analysts, clinical pharmacists, attorneys, HIPAA Compliance Officers and many more experts, PBIRx’s mission is to create optimal health care outcomes while minimizing overall health care costs. For more information, please visit or call (888) 797-2479.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October 22nd is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day!

Intelligent Solutions in Pharmacy Benefits
612 Wheelers Farms Road, Milford, CT 06461
(888) 797-2479

Prescription Drugs | National Prescription Drug Take Back Day | PBIRx
On Saturday, October 22nd, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will be holding its 12th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. At the end of this blog is a link to find a location by zip code. Held from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM, the purpose of this event is to provide the public with a safe, responsible and convenient way to get rid of prescription drugs, while at the same time providing education on how medications can potentially be abused.

During the last event, which was held earlier this year in April, the DEA and its national, community and tribal law enforcement partners collected a total of 447 tons of unwanted medications. There were about 5,400 collection sites available across the United States. For the event on the 22nd of October, there will be 4,700 collection sites in operation nationwide, and the service provided by local law enforcement agencies and other community partners will be completely free of charge to the public.

Since the first National Prescription Drug Take Back Day six years ago, there have been approximately 6.4 million pounds of drugs collected – this alone just goes to show how successful the events have been. The DEA explains that 6.4 million Americans aged 12 and up abuse prescription drugs, and with drug overdoses being the leading cause of injury-related death in the U.S., it becomes increasingly more important for the public to have a safe way of disposing unwanted medications.

If you have unwanted medications at home, we highly encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity. Locating a collection site near you is easy. Simply click here, select "locate a collection site near you," and either enter your zip code or your county, city and state – upon submitting your information, you will be presented with a list of participants and the specifics of the collection site.

For more information, click here or give us a call at (888) 797-2479.