The National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) and the American Health Care Association (AHCA) last week formally commended the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for proposing to implement Sec. 3309 of the Affordable Care Act on Jan. 1, 2012. As noted in their letter to CMS Administrator Donald Berwick, M.D., CMS is proposing the earliest possible implementation date allowable under wording in the health reform statute. Sec. 3309 is the result of a five-year campaign by NCAL, AHCA, and other national organizations. (See: http://www.ahcancal.org/ncal/advocacy/Letters/LetterCMSonProposedPartDImplementation.pdf.)
The letter to Dr. Berwick was in response to a proposed rule published by CMS on Nov. 22, 2010. In the proposed rule, CMS estimates that Sec. 3309 will eliminate cost sharing under the Medicare Part D prescription drug program for an estimated 600,000 dual eligible beneficiaries receiving home and community-based (HCB) services (including those living in assisted living communities). Sec. 3309 will bring needed financial relief to this vulnerable group of very low-income seniors and people with disabilities and improve their medical care. It also will also create parity in Part D cost sharing requirements between dual eligible beneficiaries in institutional and HCB settings. For more information, contact NCAL Senior Policy Director Karl Polzer at firstname.lastname@example.org.