CMS reverses proposed consultant pharmacist regulation for SNFs

April 4, 2012
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A proposed rule that would have required nursing homes to hire independent pharmacists to review residents’ medications was reversed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the agency announced Monday.

The proposal, introduced last October, would have created tougher rules to cover residents’ medication plans, an announcement that sent shares of nursing home pharmacy companies PharMerica and Omnicare into a sharp decline.

CMS said it backtracked on its proposal because the policy “would be highly disruptive to the industry” without reducing drug utilization, according to a Bloomberg report.

The report noted CMS director Jonathan Blum’s concern about the inappropriate medication of residents, particularly with regard to anti-psychotic drugs and the issue of nursing home “staff and physicians who contribute significantly to the problem,” along with the pharmacists.

According to federal laws, SNFs are required to review residents’ drug regimens once a month.

In a statement accompanying the filing, CMS said that nursing homes should voluntarily change the way they medicate residents to reduce “inappropriate prescribing,” or else the government would make changes in a future regulation, Bloomberg reported.

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