APhA said Reps. Ron Kind (D., Wis.) and Todd Young (R., Ind.) issued statements this week to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health calling for pharmacists to have a bigger role in health care. Their remarks were submitted to a hearing on legislation to improve and sustain the Medicare program.
Kind, an original co-sponsor of the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592), noted that pharmacists provide an array of health services, within their scope of practice, beyond their traditional role of filling prescriptions.
“They conduct health and wellness screenings, manage chronic diseases, provide medication management, facilitate care transitions and administer immunizations,” Kind stated. “This legislation would allow the pharmacists serving medically underserved communities to be reimbursed for the services they provide.”
In his comments, Young also cited his support for H.R. 592 and awareness of the growing role that pharmacists play in the delivery of health services, including in new models of care beyond the traditional fee-for-service structure.
“In addition to medication adherence services such as medication therapy management (MTM), pharmacists are capable of providing many other cost-saving services, subject to state scope of practice laws, including health tests, helping to manage chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, and expanded immunization services,” Young explained.
He added, “lack of pharmacist recognition as a provider by third-party payors, including Medicare and Medicaid, limits the number and types of services pharmacists can provide, even though fully qualified to do so. H.R. 592 will allow Medicare Part B to utilize pharmacists to their full capability.”
Earlier this month, APhA reiterated its support for H.R. 592 and its Senate companion legislation (S. 314) in providing insight to the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health on how to improve and sustain the Medicare program.
“We are thankful that Reps. Young and Kind took the time to write statements in support for the roles that pharmacists play on the health care team,” commented Thomas Menighan, APhA executive vice president and chief executive officer. “Millions of Americans lack access to health care and with nearly 86% of Americans living within five miles of a pharmacy, pharmacists are well positioned to help improve patient access and quality while decreasing costs.”