WASHINGTON — This month, the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition (PAPCC) released newspaper ads and radio spots urging Congress to pass the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (S. 314/H.R. 592).
The legislation, before both the House and the Senate, would provide Medicare beneficiaries access to pharmacist-provided patient care services as authorized by state laws and regulations in medically underserved communities.
In addition, the bills identify pharmacists as a pillar of patients’ health care team, furthering the profession’s push to gain health provider status.
The media campaign promotes role of pharmacists in seniors’ care and spotlights challenges that many seniors face in terms of access to health care services. The effort was announced earlier this year by PAPCC, a group of more than 25 organizations representing patients, pharmacists, pharmacies and other stakeholders. Under the initiative, PAPCC is running print and digital advertising in beltway media outlets over the course of the Congressional calendar.
PAPCC’s newly released print ad pictures an elderly man sitting at a bus stop, with a question over him reading, “Where can he turn for help?” The answer on the ad is, “Seniors can turn to pharmacists for health care services, including the management of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease; health tests such as glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure; and immunizations.”
The bottom of the ad shows PAPCC’s “Pharmacists Care” logo and reads, “Pass H.R. 592/S. 314, the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act, to provide Medicare coverage for pharmacist-provided patient care services.”
Similarly, PAPCC’s radio commercial features seniors with health issues such as heart disease and diabetes explaining their difficulties in accessing care. They point out that their local pharmacist provides ready access to services that could help them with their condition, but these services aren’t currently covered by Medicare.
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores, a PAPCC steering committee member, reported that subsequent ads will focus on rural areas and other aspects of medically underserved patients.
NACDS noted that, for the campaign, PAPCC conducted extensive research and led focus groups on messaging.
“The ability of pharmacy to meet health care access challenges emerged as a strong selling point to emphasize the essential role pharmacy plays in access to care for medically underserved patients,” NACDS stated, adding that the print ads build on a digital ad campaign that began running in May on websites visited by lawmakers and their staff. “These prominently and strategically placed ads bring a high level of visibility to the issue of expanding patient access to pharmacist-provided services for patients in medically underserved population. They tell a story about bridging a gap in health care that lawmakers need to know.”