Walgreens CIA Agreement: What You Need to Know
In March 2019, Walgreens entered into a Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA) with the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This agreement came after a three-year investigation into Walgreens’ pharmacy practices.
What is a CIA?
A Corporate Integrity Agreement is a legal agreement between a healthcare provider and the OIG. It is designed to ensure that the provider complies with all applicable laws and regulations, as well as OIG’s guidelines and standards. A CIA typically lasts for five years and involves several requirements, such as the appointment of a compliance officer, regular audits, and employee training.
Why did Walgreens enter into a CIA?
The investigation into Walgreens’ pharmacy practices started in 2014 when the company was accused of filling prescriptions without proper documentation, dispensing controlled substances without a valid prescription, and failing to maintain accurate records. In 2018, the OIG issued a report that found evidence of several violations, including the filling of prescriptions for Medicare beneficiaries without the required documentation.
Under the terms of the CIA, Walgreens agreed to pay $209.2 million to the government to settle the allegations. In addition, Walgreens agreed to implement several compliance measures to prevent future violations.
What are the requirements of Walgreens’ CIA?
The requirements of Walgreens’ CIA are extensive and cover all aspects of the company’s pharmacy practices. Some of the key requirements include:
– Appointment of a compliance officer: Walgreens is required to appoint a compliance officer who will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the CIA.
– Regular audits: Walgreens must conduct regular audits of its pharmacy practices to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
– Employee training: Walgreens must provide regular training to its employees, including pharmacists, on topics such as proper record-keeping, dispensing of controlled substances, and Medicare requirements.
– Reporting requirements: Walgreens must report any violations or potential violations of the CIA to the OIG.
– Independent review: Walgreens must hire an independent review organization to conduct an annual review of its compliance with the CIA.
What does this mean for Walgreens?
Entering into a CIA is a serious matter, and compliance with its requirements is essential for Walgreens to avoid further penalties or legal action. It also highlights the importance of having effective compliance measures in place to ensure that all employees are following appropriate procedures.
For customers, the CIA should provide reassurance that Walgreens is taking steps to ensure that its pharmacy practices are in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, and that patient safety is a top priority.
In conclusion, the Walgreens CIA Agreement underscores the importance of compliance with all healthcare laws and regulations. It also serves as a reminder that healthcare providers must take proactive measures to prevent violations and ensure patient safety. As a company that cares about its customers, Walgreens should continue to prioritize compliance and patient safety in all of its pharmacy practices.