Foley Hoag Hosts Webinar to Explain Fast-Developing Medicare Drug Benefit Changes That Could Affect Millions

January 9, 2014

Recently proposed changes to the Medicare prescription benefit that could affect millions of Americans are the focus of a webinar hosted by Foley Hoag LLP partner Thomas Barker, a former general counsel for the Medicare and Medicaid programs and co-chair of the firm’s Healthcare practice.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) this week issued a proposed change to the longstanding rule that guarantees Medicare Part D coverage of six classes of prescriptions drugs: anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, anti-retrovirals, anti-convulsants, anti-neoplastic, and immunosuppressants for organ rejection. The proposed changes could affect millions of Americans with conditions ranging from cancer and depression to HIV.

Serving in the Bush Administration, Barker played a key role in the implementation of every major health policy initiative enacted during his tenure, including the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit (Medicare Part D). His one-hour webinar will describe the proposed rule change, the history of the rule and the six protected classes of medications, and the process the rule change has to follow before it can take effect. He will be available for interviews before and after the webinar

“This would be the first significant change to the protected class policy since 2006, and has a potentially huge impact on Medicaid and Medicare recipients with chronic health conditions,” Barker said. “Some classes of medications, such as anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, and immunosuppressants used to treat organ transplant patients, will lose their protected status. The proposal hit very quickly and was not publicized in advance, so we put together the webinar to provide some clarity and let people understand their range of options.”

Barker is an acknowledged expert on public healthcare policy. Prior to joining Foley Hoag, he was acting general counsel at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and general counsel of the CMS. His practice focuses on complex federal and state health care legal and regulatory matters with a special expertise in Medicare and Medicaid law and regulations.

To view the webinar please click here.

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