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Public Statements

Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. COCHRAN. Mr. President, on May 13, 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued Change Request 7397 to stop compounding pharmacies that prepare medications used in implanted infusion pumps from billing Medicare directly for these services. This was an attempt to reverse a policy that has been permissible in several States for over 20 years. Since then, I have worked with Senator Wicker and other Members of Congress to delay the implementation of this change until its effects have been fully considered.

This policy change has been met with opposition from pharmacies, physicians, and patients. In Mississippi, pharmacies are prohibited from selling infused pain medications to physicians, which would result in decreased access to effective treatments for chronic pain disorders. While this is a particular issue in my State, this policy change will have serious implications across the Nation.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has worked with us over the past year to delay this policy change and to propose a rule that is now receiving comments. However, CMS officials have continued to demonstrate a lack of understanding about the potential consequences of changing payment policy. We should protect practices that have been effective in treating patients and support those who supply drugs necessary for the well-being of patients. This bill would explicitly allow compounding pharmacies to bill Medicare directly for their services in the interest of helping patients continue to receive the quality care they deserve.

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