H.R. 4190 Will Extend Pharmacists' Services to Medicare Beneficiaries in Underserved Areas
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) strongly supports H.R. 4190, introduced today by Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.). The legislation will amend the Social Security Act to recognize pharmacists as providers under Medicare Part B. This change 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.
Pharmacists have comprehensive and unique education and training in the use of medications to treat, manage, and prevent diseases. “This bill will make a tremendous difference to patients needing additional access to the critical health care services that pharmacists provide,” said ASHP CEO Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP. “There is a significant body of evidence showing that pharmacists contribute to improved health outcomes, enhanced patient satisfaction, and lower health care costs when they are part of the health care team.”
H.R. 4190 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 ASHP Board of Directors made achieving provider status the Society's top priority in our strategic plan, and we are extremely pleased to see that patients are one step closer to having the access they deserve to the patient care services of pharmacists," said ASHP President Gerald E. Meyer, Pharm.D., M.B.A., FASHP. "It is heartening to see that our elected officials in Washington appreciate the value pharmacists can bring as patient care providers, and we look forward to seeing this bill get passed and signed into law.
ASHP is a member of the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition, a group of more than 20 organizations representing patients, pharmacists, and pharmacies, as well as other interested stakeholders, which is leading efforts to garner support for the bill.
“ASHP applauds the bill’s sponsors and looks forward to working with members of Congress and other stakeholders in enacting legislation that will recognize pharmacists in all care settings, including hospitals, health systems, and clinics, to provide these services to this critical patient population,” said Abramowitz.
ASHP is the national professional organization whose 40,000 members include pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and student pharmacists who provide patient care services in hospitals, health systems, and ambulatory clinics. For 70 years, the Society 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 help people make the best use of medicines, visit ASHP's website, www.ashp.org, or its consumer website, www.safemedication.com.