Retail News Breaks Archives
Provider status bill builds bipartisan support
July 10th, 2014
ARLINGTON, Va. – More members of Congress are recognizing the need for the nation to make broader use of pharmacists' range of health care capabilities, according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.
NACDS said Thursday that Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (D., Ariz.) and Rush Holt (D., N.J.) have given their support to bipartisan legislation that would designate pharmacists as health care providers under the Medicare program. That raises the total number of co-sponsors of the provider status bill (H.R. 4190) to 65.
Introduced in March, H.R. 4190 aims to boost access to pharmacy services for Medicare patients, including immunizations, disease state testing and self-management education. The bill would amend the Social Security Act of 1935 to allow pharmacists to be reimbursed under Medicare Part B for certain health services in medically underserved communities.
"Expanding the role of pharmacists to meet the demands of more than 30 million newly insured patients can only help alleviate the increased need for health care services," NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson commented when the bill was introduced.
Besides advocating for legislator support of the bill, NACDS met last week with stakeholders to highlight the benefits of pharmacist-administered preventive services to Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services Howard Koh. The group explained that pharmacy's accessible, cost-effective services are an integral part of innovative health care delivery.
NACDS added that the group plans to follow-up on its initial meeting, at Koh’s request, with information on which states best utilize pharmacist services for health care delivery services.
Also on Thursday, NACDS expressed its support for the 21st Century Cures Initiative. Launched by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R., Mich.) and committee member Rep. Diana DeGette (D., Colo.), the effort aims to harness the power of technology and bring together researchers, innovators and patients to better understand diseases and advance research for cures.
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health is holding two hearings this week to gain input from stakeholders on the initiative, which seeks to fast-track the discovery, development and delivery process of new drug treatments.
"Community pharmacy's potential key role in delivering new drug treatments is highlighted by the fact that pharmacies are best known for their commitment to medication safety and effectiveness, providing accurate prescriptions, helping patients take medications as prescribed and safely, and advising patients on potential drug interactions," NACDS said in a letter to Upton and DeGette.
The 21st Century Cures Initiative includes collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and other agencies, as well as patients and leading-edge scientific researchers.
"In light of chain pharmacies' leadership in community health care, our primary role in delivering new drug treatments, and commitment to safety and effectiveness, we look forward to helping you develop policy and legislative ideas to ensure success of the 21st Century Cures Initiative," NACDS concluded in its letter.