Federal Report Finds Drop in Complaints on Medicare Drug Plans
The monthly rate of complaints from Medicare beneficiaries about the prescription drug benefit decreased by 74% during the 18-month period that ended on Oct. 31, 2007, according to a report recently released by the Government Accountability Office, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports.
For the report, GAO examined almost 630,000 complaints filed with CMS during the review period. The monthly rate of complaints decreased from a peak of 2.86 complaints per 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries in May 2006 to 0.73 in October 2007, and the time needed to resolve complaints decreased from 33 days to nine days, the report found.
However, the report found that CMS did not resolve many of the most important complaints -- those that involve Medicare beneficiaries who might exhaust their supplies of necessary medications -- in an adequate amount of time.
According to the report, CMS should resolve complaints that involve Medicare beneficiaries who have less than a two-day supply of necessary medications within two calendar days, but the agency on average took 12 days to resolve such complaints.
Acting CMS Administrator Kerry Weems said that he agreed with the results of the report for the review period. However, during the six-month period that ended in April, CMS resolved the most important complaints within three days on average, Weems said (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 7/28).
The report is available online (.pdf).