ASHP Helps Lead Advocacy for Introduction of Legislation to Expand Patient Access to Pharmacist Care
Today, I’m pleased to announce that new federal provider status legislation, the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would enable patients to maintain timely and equitable access to essential care and health services provided by pharmacists.
ASHP, as an executive committee member of the Future of Pharmacy Care Coalition, has been aggressively working to advocate for federal policy solutions that recognize the essential role pharmacists play for patients, particularly as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensure patients can continue to receive access to pharmacists’ services necessary to respond to the pandemic and future public health threats. The bill was introduced today by Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI), David B. McKinley (R-WV), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), and Earl “Buddy” Carter (R-GA).
The new legislation aims to ensure patient access to pharmacists’ services, including testing for COVID-19, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and strep throat; drug initiation for COVID-19, influenza, and strep throat; and vaccinations for COVID-19 and influenza. The bipartisan legislation will also protect patients by ensuring pharmacists can continue to safeguard our nation’s communities against future public health threats by establishing Medicare reimbursement for pharmacy- and pharmacist-provided services in the case of public health emergencies, as determined by the Department of Health and Human Services. I encourage you to help us in supporting this important effort by sending an email to your members of Congress urging them to cosponsor the bill.
The introduction of this new bill is yet another important milestone as we further build on the many recent successes we have garnered at the state and federal level supporting the recognition of pharmacists as patient care providers.
In addition to this new legislation, we are also continuing our efforts to pass the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 2759/ S. 1362) to provide Medicare patients in medically underserved communities’ access to pharmacist care. We also remain committed to supporting state-level advocacy, which continues to see tremendous progress, with 40 states now having Medicaid programs recognizing pharmacists, along with every state now expanding the ability of pharmacists to provide care.
Most recently, we led an effort with 13 other pharmacy organizations to urge the Biden administration to remove barriers preventing pharmacists from ordering COVID-19 oral antivirals and expand patient access to the ‘Test to Treat’ initiative announced in the White House National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and emphasized by the president during his State of the Union address.
Our significant work on these initiatives, coupled with our ongoing advocacy for pharmacist recognition and work on expanding access to comprehensive medication management services, are proving to be critical steps in the process toward reaching our goal of full recognition as providers.
Today is yet another day to celebrate the progress we are making as we aggressively advocate to expand access to pharmacist care with the goal of improving patient health for all.
Thank you so much for all you do for your patients and our profession.
Posted on March 24, 2022