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Taking Provider Status to the Next Level

By Paul Abramowitz posted 11-23-2015 11:25

The year 2015 has been very productive in our efforts to improve access to the patient care services of pharmacists. ASHP and the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition now have bipartisan support of 245 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 37 members of the U.S. Senate for H.R. 592 and S.314, The Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act — and the number of cosponsors continues to grow! Having over half of the House and approaching half of the Senate supporting this important legislation is something we should all be extremely proud of.

We at ASHP are especially proud of the leadership role that our stellar members have played over the last two years. Members of Congress continue to be impressed by the high levels of clinical pharmacy services and outcome-driven care that ASHP members are providing to patients in ambulatory and acute care settings. ASHP members have undoubtedly served as shining examples of how this legislation will improve the lives of patients across the nation.

I really can’t say enough about the leadership of ASHP members. In September, ASHP brought more than 100 ASHP members from around the country to Capitol Hill to meet with their respective members of Congress. In October, a group of residents and new practitioners came to town to drive home the message and seek additional cosponsors. And in February, nearly 100 ASHP student leaders will converge on the Hill to show members of Congress how the future of pharmacy is primed and ready to provide patient care as legally recognized Medicare providers. These efforts are just the tip of the iceberg, as tens of thousands of ASHP members have sent letters, attended town halls, hosted practice site visits, participated in political fundraisers, contributed to the ASHP PAC, and met with congressional staff in district and state offices. Although we cannot afford to slow down, we should all take a moment to reflect on the awesome work that ASHP members have done to get us to where we are today.

The next steps for ASHP and the Coalition are to continue to seek more congressional cosponsors, grow the Coalition, obtain a budget score for the legislation by the Congressional Budget Office, work with congressional committee leaders to formally bring the legislation before the committees of jurisdiction, and identify legislative vehicles in this session of Congress. And, of course, at the right point, move the legislation to the floor of Congress.

I hope that as we approach the New Year you will continue to share our excitement and enthusiasm for this legislation that will do so much to improve healthcare for our patients. Thank you for all that you have done, for what you will continue to do, and for your membership and involvement in ASHP. Please enjoy the holiday season!



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