Facilities report few problems during launch of drug program, Minnix says

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The Medicare Prescription Drug Program has started with few troubles for long-term care facilities, according to the president of a major long-term care association.

Since the program began Sunday, the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging has had "a limited number" of problem reports from members. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has worked to fix those glitches, said Larry Minnix, AAHSA's president and CEO, in a statement to members.

"To the best of our knowledge, initial implementation of Medicare Part D has gone smoothly among the long-term care and aging services providers we represent," he wrote.

Still, one news agency reported that the program got off to an imperfect start for some seniors not in long-term care facilities. Those Medicare beneficiaries who applied early and had identification cards with them fared well in filling prescriptions. But for others, pharmacists spent a lot of time trying to confirm eligibility and enrollment by telephone and computer.