NH Delegation Asks CMS to Halt Medicare Part D Implementation

New Hampshire’s entire Congressional delegation has added their voices to sign-on letters being circulated by Senators Rockefeller and Roberts (PDF) and Representatives Reed and Thompson (PDF), asking CMS to temporarily halt implementation of action that has left hospice patients without medications they need at the end of life.

The National Association of Home Care, Forum of State Associations, also submitted a letter to CMS Administrator Marylin Tavenner to express concern regarding the Center for  Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS).  Recent CMS changes would establish a procedure to limit instances in which a Part D plan c overs prescription medications not related to a hospice beneficiary’s terminal condition.

New Hampshire’s Delegation & Home Care Association Offer Total Support

The letters ask CMS to immediately suspend the Guidance on Part D that was issued March 10, 2014, because it has resulted in confusion among both providers and patients and could jeopardize hospice patients’ timely access to needed medications. CMS issued the Guidance to providers, which includes a “prior authorization” process for how the two groups should determine who pays for which drugs once a patient enters hospice. Members of Congress have called for CMS to slow the process and convene a meeting of stakeholders to create the appropriate communication channels and processes. According to the Hospice Action Network (HAN), CMS has provided little instruction and absolutely no infrastructure to ensure that hospices and Part D plans can successfully implement this process without impacting patient access to medications.

Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte have both signed onto the Senate’s letter to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner and both of New Hampshire’s Congresswomen Ann McLane Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter signed on to the House letter which concerns Part D payments for drugs for hospice beneficiaries. For background details, check the link to the Hospice Action Network.