Provider Status Update: A Coalition Has Formed

By Paul Abramowitz posted 03-03-2014 18:26

  

I am pleased to have this opportunity to update you on new and exciting developments on achieving provider status. After over a year of planning and strategizing a formal coalition has been formed and a legislative proposal is under development. The name of the coalition is the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition. The coalition is currently comprised of ASHP, Albertson's, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), American Pharmacists Association (APhA), American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP), Amerisource Bergen, Bi-Lo Pharmacy, Cardinal Health, CVS Caremark, Food Marketing Institute (FMI), Fred's Pharmacy, Fruth Pharmacy, International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP), National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA), National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), Rite Aid, Safeway Inc., SuperValu Pharmacies, Thrifty White Pharmacy, Walgreens, and Winn-Dixie.
 
As you can see the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition represents a very broad spectrum of pharmacy practice. The coalition will also be working to garner the support of various other stakeholders in pharmacy, medicine, nursing, business, patient advocacy, and many other groups.
 
The legislative proposal will seek to amend section 1861 of the Social Security Act to list pharmacists as providers under Medicare Part B. The proposal will recognize pharmacists as providers who are licensed by a state and are working within the laws and regulations that govern the practice of pharmacy in that state. The proposal will recognize the services of pharmacist providers who deliver patient-care services in federally defined underserved communities. The rationale for this is that these are all areas of unmet need, and it covers patients and areas across the country. Further, from a policy perspective, fulfilling unmet needs helps address gaps in our health care system that will help increase access, improve quality and decrease costs. Additionally, this proposal may eventually open the door for private third-party payers and states to potentially recognize pharmacist provider services for a much broader array of patients and areas that are covered by private insurance and Medicaid.

The proposal will also establish 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.

As you can see, a lot of thought and consideration has gone into this federal legislative request. As we proceed, it may become necessary to make modifications to the proposal as negotiations continue. However, the core principle that pharmacists must be included as providers under Medicare Part B will persist.
 
As federal advocacy takes place it will be equally, if not more important, for pharmacists and their partners in the stakeholder community at the state and local level to take an assertive stance and leading role in persuading their elected officials in Washington to support provider status for pharmacists under Medicare Part B. Further, you can show them how pharmacists are currently caring for patients in ways that improve quality and outcomes and decrease cost. ASHP and its partners in the national pharmacy coalition will be working hard to prepare state and local grassroots advocates by providing them with the tools they need to be successful in their advocacy efforts. There will also be opportunities to emulate what states like California have done to get pharmacists recognized as providers in state law, which will serve to bolster the rationale for recognizing pharmacists as providers at the federal level.

We at ASHP and our partners in the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition are extremely excited about the progress that is being made to help more patients get the access they deserve to pharmacist providers. I firmly believe that now is the time to make it happen for our patients and for our profession. I hope you will join us in supporting this effort as we work under an aggressive timetable to get a bill introduced in Congress soon.

If you are interested in participating in national, state, or local pharmacist provider status efforts, please contact the ASHP Government Relations Division at gad@ashp.org.

Please let me close by saying thank you for the work you do every day to improve the lives of the patients you serve, and for your ongoing involvement in ASHP. I look forward to updating you again soon on this top-priority effort to achieve provider status for pharmacists. We are off and running!



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04-23-2014 08:18

The link does not work as the petition is expired.

03-20-2014 10:34

There is a petition out now on whitehouse.gov to support the new bill. Please add your name to the petition. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/support-bipartisan-bill-hr-4190-and-recognize-pharmacists-healthcare-providers/WbG8FjN5