In the April 15, 2011, final rule governing MA and Part D policy, CMS finalized implementation of this provision (see pp. 21460-70). CMS increased the original 7-day dispensing requirement to 14 days and excluded generic drugs.
On January 6, 2014, CMS issued a proposed rule delineating Contract Year 2015 MA and Part D policy and technical changes. The rule proposes, among other things, to limit and redefine, based on new criteria, Part D’s protected drug classes to initially include anticonvulsants, antiretrovirals and antineoplastics — but not antidepressants and immunosuppressants – as “drug categories and classes of clinical concern” for the 2015 coverage year. The rule addresses each of these provisions of the ACA in some manner. A CMS fact sheet is available.
On March 10, 2014, the Administration informed top Congressional leaders that it will not finalize some of the key changes to Part D that it had proposed in a draft regulation issued January 10. The elements of the Proposed Rule that the Administration will not finalize include: (1) Changes to the Six Protected Classes, which would have excluded mental health and immunosuppressive drugs from these protections (such as a requirement that plans cover all drugs in these classes), among other revisions; (2) Reductions in the number of plans a Part D sponsor may offer; (3) Limitations on the use of preferred pharmacies; and (4) New interpretation of the non-interference provisions. The Administration notes it will gather additional input and effectively reserves the right to advance changes in these areas in future years. But no changes will be made for the CY15 plan year. It will move forward with other elements of the Rule, as discussed in the Administration’s letter to Congressional members. A copy of the letter is available externally here.
On May 19, CMS issued a final rule on MA and Part D contract year 2015 technical changes. While the final rule codifies a number of fraud and abuse-related proposals, as signaled in an earlier letter to Congress the final rule does not adopt controversial proposed modifications to Part D protected drug classes or limitations on offering more than two Part D plans in a given region. The rule addresses each of these provisions of the ACA in some manner. A fact sheet is available here.
SEC. 3310. REDUCING WASTEFUL DISPENSING OF OUTPATIENT PRESCRIPTION DRUGS IN LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES UNDER PRESCRIPTION DRUG PLANS AND MA–PD PLANS. (a) IN GENERAL.—Section 1860D–4(c) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w–104(c)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph: ‘‘(3) REDUCING WASTEFUL DISPENSING OF OUTPATIENT PRESCRIPTION DRUGS IN LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES.—The Secretary shall require PDP sponsors of prescription drug plans to utilize specific, uniform dispensing techniques, as determined by the Secretary, in consultation with relevant stakeholders (including representatives of nursing facilities, residents of nursing facilities, pharmacists, the pharmacy industry (including retail and long-term care pharmacy), prescription drug plans, MA–PD plans, and any other stakeholders the Secretary determines appropriate), such as weekly, daily, or automated dose dispensing, when dispensing covered part D drugs to enrollees who reside in a long-term care facility in order to reduce waste associated with 30-day fills.’’. (b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply to plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2012.