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Rural Health
News by Topic: Pharmacy and prescription drugs

CMS: Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request Federal Register
Jul 20, 2018 - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is seeking public comment by September 18, 2018 on its intention to collect information for the evaluation of CMS Quality Improvement Organizations' medication safety and adverse drug event prevention activities.
Source: Federal Register
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Statement by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., On Formation of A New Drug Shortages Task Force and FDA’s Efforts to Advance Long-Term Solutions to Prevent Shortages
Jul 12, 2018 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the formation of a Drug Shortages Task Force to delve into the causes for prescription drug shortages as well as looking into potential solutions. This task force will include senior leaders from the FDA as well as from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration
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When an Iowa Family Doctor Takes On the Opioid Epidemic
Jun 23, 2018 - Highlights a doctor in rural Iowa who worked to provide medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder in her community. Touches on the effort that went into being able to offer this kind of treatment and the barriers that were faced along the way, including stigma among medical professionals.
Source: The New York Times
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CMS: Medicare Program; Contract Year 2019 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage, Medicare Cost Plan, Medicare Fee-for-Service, the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Programs, and the PACE Program; Correction Federal Register
Jun 15, 2018 - Correction of technical and typographical errors in a final rule published on April 16, 2018. The original rule revised the Medicare Advantage (MA) program (Part C) regulations and Prescription Drug Benefit program (Part D) to implement provisions designed to reduce beneficiary misuse or overdose of opioids as part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). It included information on changes to improve program integrity policies related to payments in MA, Medicare cost plan, Part D, and PACE programs, among other things. It also included CMS's response to comments submitted on the final rule, including its effect on small and rural providers. The rule, and these corrections, are effective June 15, 2018.
Source: Federal Register
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MACPAC Makes Recommendations to Strengthen Medicaid Drug Rebate Program; Address Opioid Epidemic
Jun 15, 2018 - The Medicaid and CHIP Payment Access Commission (MACPAC) released its June 2018 Report to Congress on Medicaid and CHIP, with recommendations to change statutory provisions that prevent state Medicaid programs from paying the lowest price for certain drugs and clarify regulations on protecting the privacy of patients with substance use disorder (SUD) to support integration of care.
Source: Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission
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U.S. Department of Labor Issues New Rule to Update Payment Of Medical Benefits Under Black Lung Benefits Act
Jun 13, 2018 - The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) published a final rule under the Black Lung Benefits Act, which provides compensation and payment for medical services to miners who are totally disabled due to pneumoconiosis, or black lung disease. The new regulations adopt industry-standard payment formulas, codify the black lung program's current payment practice for prescription drug payments, and its bill-processing procedures.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor
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California Orders Opioid Overdose Antidote Naloxone Available Without Prescription
Jun 8, 2018 - The California Department of Public Health issued a statewide standing order for naloxone, allowing organizations that work to reduce or manage drug addiction to distribute the opioid overdose-reversing medication to patients and members of the community without a prescription from an individual doctor. This is seen as especially helpful in rural areas, where it can be difficult to find a doctor to write a standing order due to shortages as well as addiction medicine being outside of many primary care physicians' areas of expertise.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
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HHS: 340B Drug Pricing Program Ceiling Price and Manufacturer Civil Monetary Penalties Regulation; Rule Federal Register
Jun 5, 2018 - Notice of a final rule from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to further delay the effective date of a January 5, 2017 final rule that set forth the calculation of the ceiling price and application of civil monetary penalties for the 340B Drug Pricing Program. The new effective date of the final rule will be July 1, 2019.
Source: Federal Register
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Declining Number of Rural Pharmacies ‘A Worrisome Trend’
May 25, 2018 - Highlights research focused on small-town pharmacies closing in Washington state. Nearly 500 rural communities in Washington lost their only retail pharmacy between 2003 and 2013.
Source: Washington State University
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