In a continuing effort to keep you up-to-date on the current state of drug costs, we've rounded up a list of recent developments that are in the news this month, including a new study with good news about some generic drug costs during 2015, significant price increases for some commonly-prescribed medications, and the current backlog of generic drug applications at the FDA.
In the spirit of improving strength, balance, and mobility for older adults, United Methodist Homes of New Jersey (UMHNJ) recently celebrated the grand opening of a new SeniorFITness program at its Pitman Manor senior community in Pitman, NJ. Several SeniorFITness team members, including Director of Education and Program Development Dr. Thomas Sattler, attended this event, which included interactive presentations and a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the SeniorFITness gym.
On October 30 of last year, CMS issued a final rule that updated payment policies and rates for services furnished under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) on or after January 1, 2016. This is the same schedule used to pay for Part B therapy services in senior-living and post-acute care communities.
CMS has issued a final rule that attempts to clarify how providers should handle self-identified overpayments. In the rule, CMS established its expectations around the 60-day rule, a provision that addresses when an "identified" overpayment must be repaid before it becomes subject to federal False Claims Act (FCA) liability. The new provisions provide details on when the 60-day clock starts ticking – and how far back providers must review (the so-called "lookback period) for overpayments they may have received.
January marks the beginning of a new year – and a new coverage year for Medicare beneficiaries. As a result, the majority of your Medicare Part D patients will be required to meet a 2016 deductible for prescriptions before their Medicare Prescription Drug Plan begins to pay for covered drugs.
To promote cost-effective drug therapy, Symbria Rx Services sometimes issues credit for returned medications from our skilled nursing communities. Our credit policy is designed to comply with both the law and pharmacy best practices. (Please note that current Pharmacy Practice Act regulations prohibit us from accepting returns for credit from assisted living or independent living communities.)
To promote cost-effective drug therapy, Symbria Rx Services sometimes issues credit for returned medications from our skilled nursing communities. EPA rules restrict our ability to transport waste back to our pharmacy, which limits our options for disposal. As a result, it is our policy to not take an item back unless it's a creditable item. However, a new service makes it possible for your nursing staff to safely dispose of unused drugs – without having to spend time removing pills from packaging or mixing medication with kitty litter.
As a long-term care pharmacy, we are always looking for ways to improve medication management. In fact, we're currently piloting a new one-day dispensing program at three of our client communities.
In 2015, Symbria Analytics launched an inQ Experience Surveys mobile app that provides a secure, cloud-based alternative to paper-based surveys. And now, we're pleased to announce we recently released a new version of this app for Android devices.
Many factors contribute to resident satisfaction. Taking a deeper dive into the demographic data that your survey company provides – such as average scores based on gender, age, and length of stay at your community – can help you determine if you need to take action to improve resident satisfaction.