CMS loosens Medicare Part D rules

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Healthcare providers are permitted to assist beneficiaries with enrollment and education linked to the Medicare Part D prescription drug program. That's according to the federal government, which this week sought to clarify an issue that nursing homes have found increasingly problematic.

Specifically, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services noted that providers and pharmacies are not violating the law so long as they are not engaging in marketing-related activities. CMS views marketing as steering or trying to steer a beneficiary toward a plan for compensation.

Nursing home providers and long-term care pharmacies have been seeking such relief for more than a year. Under old rules, staff could not help any residents, including those who might be cognitively impaired. The proposed rule is scheduled to be published in today's Federal Register.

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