Would you believe that one-third of rural pharmacists are considering closing under new Medicare plan? I was shocked when I found this on the Center for Rural Affairs blog, where they picked it up from the Rural Blog at the University of Kentucky Institute for Rural Journalism.
A survey of more than 500 community pharmacists revealed that nearly nine out of 10 (89 percent) are getting less money and a third are considering shutting down since the new Medicare Part D prescription drug plan went into effect January 1st.
“The survey found that more than half (55 percent) of respondents said they have had to obtain outside loans or financing to supplement their pharmacy’s cash flow because of slow reimbursement by health care plans,” according to the National Community Pharmacists Association. “
More than two-thirds (67 percent) of those surveyed said their pharmacy was located in an area with a population of less than 50,000 persons, and most (68 percent) said they had been in business for at least 20 years.”
“Community pharmacists have been the backbone of the Part D program and are frequently the most accessible—and sometimes the only—health care provider in the community,” said NCPA Executive Vice President and CEO Bruce Roberts. “We need to address the serious problems of low and slow reimbursement in the Medicare Part D program to ensure that these communities will continue to be served by their pharmacists.” (Read more)
A study by the Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis of the Rural Policy Research Institute reported that average monthly premiums for Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans vary from $6 in urban New Hampshire to $53 in rural Hawaii, click here for the study.
Our rural communities can’t afford to lose our pharmacists over this. Time to inform your political representatives that we must completely revamp Part D.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.