AFTER MORE THAN A YEAR of planning and strategizing, I’m pleased to be able to share with you some exciting developments in our efforts to achieve provider status.
ASHP is now part of the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition that is working on legislation to amend the Social Security Act to recognize pharmacists as providers under Medicare Part B. The proposal will recognize licensed pharmacists working within their state pharmacy practice acts to deliver care for patients in federally defined medically underserved communities.
This covers a large portion of the U.S., which includes many of the organizations in which our members practice. The legislative proposal also establishes a mechanism to pay for pharmacist provider services as a percentage of the current physician fee schedule, or pursuant to pharmacist specific codes as part of that schedule.
We are taking this approach for several reasons. The coalition’s proposal addresses areas of unmet need where patients will benefit greatly from the wide array of services that pharmacists can provide. From a policy perspective, fulfilling unmet needs helps address gaps in our health care system that will increase access, improve quality, and decrease costs—all top priorities for policymakers.
We will be working under an aggressive timetable to get a bill introduced in Congress soon. As we proceed, it may become necessary to make modifications to the proposal. However, the core principle that pharmacists must be included as providers under Medicare Part B will persist.
Please read my blog on ASHP Connect for more details on the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition’s work and how your participation will be critical to our success.