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Medicare reimbursement delays shutting down pharmacies

Managed Care Weekly Advisor, September 19, 2007

Small town pharmacists are closing their doors in frustration because of the reimbursement rate offered as part of the Medicare drug benefit.

According to Newsday, Medicare Part D has led to slower reimbursement rates and independent pharmacies are feeling the crunch. The National Community Pharmacists Foundation says nearly 5% of independent pharmacies-or 1,152-went out of business in 2006. Medicare Part D began in January 2006.

A study conducted by the University of Texas found that of the 3 million prescription drug claims submitted by independent and chain pharmacies last year, more than 44% were paid after 30 days, and just 1% were paid within two weeks. Medicare Part D uses a 30-day reimbursement schedule.

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