Tester: Senate decision preserves rural seniors’ access to medical supplies

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Hailing it as a victory for seniors in rural America, Senator Jon Tester announced that the Senate passed a measure to preserve access to medical supplies.

Tester championed a Senate measure that postpones new regulations on the sale of medical supplies by community pharmacies. 

Without the measure, community pharmacies would have to be accredited in order to sell certain medical supplies, including wheelchairs, walkers, canes, diabetes testing strips, and prosthetics. In rural communities, the local pharmacy is often the only option for seniors to purchase such health care supplies.

The accreditation process can be expensive and time consuming for community pharmacies.  Accreditation is also redundant, because pharmacies are already subject to oversight and regulation as medical professionals and as state-licensed businesses.

Tester pushed through a temporary fix by postponing the new regulations while he works to pass a permanent solution as part of the overall health care reform package.

“This is good news because the accreditation requirement would be costly and burdensome,” said Eric Beyer, owner of Frenchtown Drug. “As the owner of a community pharmacy, I appreciate everything Jon is doing on behalf of small businesses and community pharmacies.”

“This is good news for our rural seniors because it preserves their access to critical medical supplies,” Tester said. “We are going to push to make sure this becomes a permanent fix so that Montana's seniors don't have to drive long distances to get the supplies they need.”

The Senate’s action sends the measure to the White House for the President to sign into law.