CMS changes course on new hiring rules

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Vera R. Jackson, CEO, American Society of Consultant Pharmacists
Vera R. Jackson, CEO, American Society of Consultant Pharmacists
Federal regulators have reversed course and will not require nursing homes to hire consultant pharmacists to review residents' medication regimens.

In response to pressure from pharmacy and long-term care providers, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced the reversal April 2. The measure had been proposed in October, drawing a firestorm of protest.

Regulators last month acknowledged the controversial regulation would be “highly disruptive to the industry.” They said the issue merited further study.

CMS has appealed to nursing homes to voluntarily adjust how medications are prescribed or risk facing stiffer regulations.

Nursing homes must review resident drug plans monthly. Frequently, the task is assigned to institutional pharmacies already supplying facilities with the medications. Regulators claim this practice that can open pharmacists to potential conflicts of interest. Major providers were among the most vocal critics of the now-stricken government proposal.
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