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June 25, 2013 06:13 PM

New Diabetic Testing Supplies Program

Sioux Falls, SD

Hundreds of local Medicare patients with diabetes will have to change how they get their diabetic testing supplies. On July 1, Medicare Part B will implement a national mail-order program.

68-year-old Herb Grogan has a difficult time getting around. The Sioux Falls man and his wife both have diabetes and neither are able to drive.

"We don't have a car. I have to call a day in advance for a paratransit," Herb said.

Usually Lewis Drug delivers the Grogans' medication and testing supplies to their home, but starting July 1, the couple will no longer be allowed to get their diabetic testing strips that way.

"Which is causing a lot of concern amongst our patients," Lewis Drug Pharmacy director Bill Ladwig said.

Under the new national program, Medicare patients can only order diabetic testing supplies from 18 mail-order companies with government contracts. On July 1, local companies can no longer deliver the supplies to Medicare patients.

While local patients won't be able to get diabetic testing supplies mailed to them from area stores, they can go to the pharmacy and pick them up.

"You can still come to the pharmacies. You can still get your strips. You just need to come into the pharmacy," Ladwig said.

But you have to make sure your pharmacy is enrolled in the Medicare program.

"It just depends if the companies want to participate or not because the reimbursement took a dramatic hit," Ladwig said.

The program was started to reduce costs and the fraud resulting from excessive pricing. While the Medicare reimbursement rate will drop dramatically, Grogan says getting your medication from a local pharmacist is worth something.

"To have the person here within six blocks that I can go to that understands me and my medical condition," Grogan said.

Click here for more information and to find a mail-order company.

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