ASHP applauds Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY.), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Todd Young (R-IN.), and Ron Kind (D-WI) for their introduction today of the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592). The legislation will amend the Social Security Act to recognize pharmacists as providers under Medicare Part B, a change that will help address gaps in our nation’s health care system by increasing access to pharmacists’ services for patients who live in medically underserved communities.
“We commend the bill’s sponsors for their leadership on this critical issue,” said ASHP CEO, Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), “Patients in underserved communities face formidable challenges as they seek quality, cost-effective healthcare. H.R. 592 will make a tremendous difference to patients needing access to the critical services that pharmacists provide.”
H.R. 592 will recognize licensed pharmacists working within their state pharmacy practice acts to deliver care for patients in federally defined medically underserved communities. The legislation also establishes 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.
The legislation was originally introduced in the 113th Congress as H.R. 4190, and garnered the bipartisan support of more than 120 cosponsors. “Legislators on both sides of the aisle understand the benefits that would accrue to our nation’s healthcare system by ensuring that patients have access to an essential member of the healthcare team,” said Abramowitz.
Pharmacists have comprehensive and unique education and training in the use of medications to treat, manage, and prevent diseases. There is a significant body of evidence showing that pharmacists contribute to improved health outcomes, enhanced patient satisfaction, and lower healthcare costs when they are part of the healthcare team.
ASHP represents pharmacists who serve as patient care providers in acute and ambulatory settings. The organization’s more than 40,000 members include pharmacists, student pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. For over 70 years, ASHP has been on the forefront of efforts to improve medication use and enhance patient safety. For more information about the wide array of ASHP activities and the many ways in which pharmacists advance healthcare, visit ASHP’s website, www.ashp.org, or its consumer website, www.safemedication.com.