Cottrell shares Medicare woes

Published 12:50 pm Wednesday, April 4, 2007

By By Lisa Tindell – news writer
Drug dealers on the street may have a better chance of getting paid than do pharmacists across Alabama.
U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Ala., visited with Medical Center Pharmacy owner and pharmacist, Danny Cottrell on Tuesday to hear about payment concerns from Medicare and Medicaid.
Bonner, who is co-sponsoring two bills that would eliminate much of the concerns in the Medicare program, said he understands Cottrell's frustration with the program.
Cottrell hosted Bonner at his pharmacy during his visit and discussed a few of the problems he is currently facing.
One bill being presented by Bonner states, in part, its purpose is &#8220to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to require the sponsor of a prescription drug plan or an organization offering an MA-PD plan to promptly pay claims submitted under part D.”
If the bill passes, pharmacies hope to be able to receive payments by electronic fund transfers, Cottrell said.
The second bill being co-sponsored by Bonner is presented &#8220to ensure and foster continued patient safety and quality of care by making the antitrust laws apply to negotiations between groups of independent pharmacies and health plans and health insurance issuers (including health plans under parts C and D of the Medicare Program) in the same manner as such laws apply to protected activities under the National Labor Relations Act.”
Cottrell said that bill basically means that independent pharmacies will be able to come together as a group to negotiate payments from Medicare and other insurance companies. Larger chain-style pharmacies usually have negotiators working on behalf of an entire chain.
If the bill passes, those independents will, in essence, become a big chain of their own allowing a better stand when the time comes for negotiations, Cottrell said.
Bonner concluded his visit in Escambia County with a town hall meeting with the Poarch Creek Indians near Atmore

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