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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions are used to provide additional information and/or statutory guidance not found in State Medicaid Director Letters, State Health Official Letters, or CMCS Informational Bulletins. The different sets of FAQs as originally released can be accessed below.Frequently Asked Questions are used to provide additional information and/or statutory guidance not found in State Medicaid Director Letters, State Health Official Letters, or CMCS Informational Bulletins. The different sets of FAQs as originally released can be accessed below.

FAQ Library

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Which measures assess institutional rebalancing and utilization measures?

The following measures assess institutional rebalancing and utilization:

  • LTSS Admission to an Institution from the Community
  • LTSS Minimizing Institutional Length of Stay
  • LTSS Successful Transition after Long-Term Institutional Stay

FAQ ID:91101

Do I need to use value sets to calculate these institutional rebalancing and utilization measures? If so, where can I find the value sets?

Yes. Value sets are the complete set of procedure and codes used to identify a service or condition included in a measure. All three of the rebalancing measures—LTSS Admission to an Institution from the Community, LTSS Minimizing Institutional Length of Stay, and LTSS Successful Transition after Long-Term Institutional Stay—use the "Institutional Facility"value set (XLSX, 2.88 MB). See Table 2 in the "LTSS Value Sets to Codes" tab. Table 1 in the "LTSS Measures to Value Sets" tab shows each value set needed for each measure.

FAQ ID:91106

Should unpaid or denied claims be included in calculating the institutional utilization and rebalancing measures?

No, include paid claims only (days denied for any reason should not be included) for all three of the rebalancing measures—LTSS Admission to an Institution from the Community, LTSS Minimizing Institutional Length of Stay, and LTSS Successful Transition after Long-Term Institutional Stay.

FAQ ID:91111

Please clarify that state flexibility to reimburse in the aggregate extends to reimbursement rates for I/T/U pharmacies and FSS drugs, and that states can establish rates that are based on a variety of data sources, which may include FSS prices, national and State price surveys, AMP data, and other price benchmarks.

The new AAC requirements were designed to more accurately reflect the pharmacy providers' actual prices paid to acquire drugs and the professional services required to fill a prescription. We agree that each state is able to establish rates that satisfy (or are consistent with) AAC and may be based on a variety of data sources, which may include FSS prices, and other pricing benchmarks.

FAQ ID:95111

If a state can prove that they are under the aggregate limits of AAC and PDF and have strong participation by pharmacies, are they required to adopt the AAC and PDF reimbursement methodology at the individual claim level?

All states are required to adopt the AAC and professional dispensing fee methodology; however, it is not required to be adopted at the individual claim level, but in the aggregate. In accordance with the regulatory requirements at 42 CFR 447.512(b), the state is responsible for establishing a payment methodology, that must not exceed, in the aggregate, payment levels that the agency has determined by applying the lower of the AAC plus a professional dispensing fee or the providers' usual and customary charges to the general public. In conjunction with this the state is also responsible to ensure that pharmacy reimbursement is consistent

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with the requirements of section 1902(a)(30)(A) of the Act, which specify that provider reimbursement rates should be consistent with efficiency, economy, and quality of care while assuring sufficient beneficiary access.

FAQ ID:94691

If a state is already using actual acquisition cost (AAC) as their reimbursement methodology, does the state need to file a State Plan Amendment (SPA) or provide assurances that the current formula meets requirements established in the final rule? Is there a requirement for such states to file a SPA to provide assurance that the state's current dispensing fee amount meets the requirements of the final rule?

If a state is already making payment for prescription drugs under its state plan based on AAC, it may continue to use that methodology. However, if a state decides to change its AAC model of reimbursement, (e.g., the state decides to use the National Average Drug Acquisition Cost (NADAC) instead of a state survey to implement a payment methodology based on AAC), the state must submit a new SPA through the formal SPA process for review.

Additionally, the state should review its currently approved professional dispensing fee (PDF) to determine if, in light of the regulation (42 CFR 447.518), the PDF needs to be revised and a SPA needs to be submitted. The state does not have to submit a new SPA to provide assurance that its dispensing fee is reasonable.

Furthermore, we expect that all states, even those currently operating under an AAC reimbursement methodology, will evaluate their current state plans to determine if a SPA will be required to comply with the reimbursement requirements (including, but not limited to, AAC, PDF, 340B and the federal upper limits (FULs)).

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FAQ ID:94671

Will there be an annual review of PDFs that are required as part of SPA approvals?

No, CMS will not perform an annual review of PDFs; however, states must consider both the ingredient cost reimbursement and the PDF reimbursement when proposing changes to ensure that total reimbursement to the pharmacy provider is calculated in accordance with requirements of section 1902(a)(30)(A) of the Act.

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FAQ ID:94676

Will CMS be providing guidance to states to ensure that states include reasonable components in their cost of dispensing survey?

To the extent that a state is conducting a cost of dispensing survey, it should be a transparent, comprehensive, and well-designed tool that addresses a pharmacy provider's cost to dispense the drug product to a Medicaid beneficiary. States have the flexibility to set PDFs, including using national or regional data from another state and we do not require that a state use a specific standard or methodology such as a survey to do so.

Further, states are not required to use a specific formula or methodology such as a cost study or use an inflation update where cost studies are not conducted; however, the burden is on each state to ensure that pharmacy providers are reimbursed in accordance with the requirements in section 1902(a)(30)(A) of the Act. CMS will review each SPA submission against these standards (see 81 FR 5311).

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FAQ ID:94681

After a state evaluates changing reimbursement to actual acquisition cost plus an increased PDF and the state determines that the total cost of their pharmacy reimbursement will be increased compared to current costs, will CMS allow an adjustment in the PDF that would result in a cost neutral outcome?

The intent of the new reimbursement methodology requirements is not necessarily to result in a cost neutral outcome. The requirements are to more accurately reflect the pharmacy providers' actual prices paid to acquire drugs and the professional services required to fill a prescription. Each state's AAC reimbursement methodology and proposed professional dispensing fee will be reviewed through the SPA process to ensure they are meeting the requirements of this final rule.

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FAQ ID:94686

If NADAC is updated monthly, and a drug has a price change before the next monthly NADAC file is published, can states backdate NADAC in order to reimburse pharmacy providers correctly?

The NADAC files have weekly updates posted on Medicaid.gov that reflect any price changes that have occurred since the last posted monthly file. States using the NADAC for their AAC reimbursement methodology will have access to the weekly updates of the NADAC to ensure pharmacies are reimbursed with the most updated NADAC pricing.

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FAQ ID:94696

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