HHS to give timeline for fixing Medicare Part D to Senate committee

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The Department of Health and Human Services is planning to give the Senate Finance Committee a timeline for fixing glitches in the Medicare prescription drug launch.

That offering was one result of a closed-door meeting this week between the department and the committee. Part of that timeline includes a date of when states will get reimbursed for paying drug costs of dual eligibles. Dual eligibles are those eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt said the department is working on seven problems. Those are: dual eligible drug coverage access; problematic data transmission between states and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; customer service issues; a lack of training for pharmacists; state reimbursement for drug coverage; lack of compliance by some health plan with some CMS rules; and heading off future problems. The timeline will address these issues.

Following the meeting, some committee members said they are backing off legislation that would force HHS to resolve problems related to the launch.