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Q: Why can’t the pharmacy deliver Grandma’s blood sugar strips any more?

Posted July 17, 2013 in Advice Column

A: On July 1, 2013, Medicare changed many regulations and payment rules to several categories of healthcare equipment it pays for through Medicare Part B. These changes included supplies used to  test blood sugars for diabetic patients. The changes are very complicated. The end result for your grandma is retail pharmacies can no longer deliver or mail testing supplies to the patient. These supplies must be picked up at the store by the patient or caregiver and signed for.

Unfortunately, for homebound persons, those living in assisted living facilities and seniors who travel for the winter, this will make it challenging to continue receiving blood sugar testing supplies from their local pharmacy. Medicare conducted a competitive bidding process for national mail order suppliers. There are approved mail order only suppliers available which can mail these testing supplies directly to the home.  These suppliers are listed at the Medicare website: directory/search.html.

This website currently lists 20 Medicare-approved suppliers for Hamilton County residents — all located outside of the state of Iowa — which can mail testing supplies directly to the home.  It is important for your grandma to contact her pharmacy or contact one of the approved mail order suppliers to make arrangements to continue receiving these important supplies.

Information provided by Hy-Vee Pharmacy, 823 Second St., Webster City, 515-832-4025.

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