ASHP Advocacy Priorities Support Patients and Pharmacy Profession
Engaging in advocacy is one of ASHP’s most important tools for advancing patient care and pharmacy practice.
Today, I want to provide an update on seven key ASHP advocacy priorities that support our 60,000 members, who include pharmacists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians in all patient care settings. This robust ASHP advocacy agenda includes key initiatives we are working to advance in collaboration with ASHP members, hospitals and health systems, state affiliates, schools of pharmacy, and national healthcare organizations.
Empowering Pharmacists to Provide a Broader Scope of Patient Care Services
Our sustained federal advocacy resulted in a major win under this priority, with Congress eliminating the X-waiver, a longtime federal barrier to the prescribing of medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) by pharmacists. ASHP has since expanded our advocacy by creating model state legislation and a model protocol for pharmacists to initiate, modify, discontinue, and administer MOUD. I encourage you to use these tools and to watch for new ASHP resources that support a broader scope of practice for our members.
Securing Payment for Pharmacist Patient Care Services
Last year, we had major successes in securing reimbursement for pharmacist services. Forty state Medicaid programs now recognize pharmacists as providers for at least one billable service, and all 50 states have expanded pharmacists’ ability to provide care. We recently announced further progress toward provider status, as several states expanded reimbursement for comprehensive medication management and other pharmacist-provided services. We also continue our strong federal advocacy, including support for H.R. 1770, the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act, recently introduced in the House of Representatives.
Advocating for Solutions to Pharmacy Workforce Challenges
ASHP continues to advocate for the protection of pharmacy residency program funding to ensure a high standard of training that meets the needs of our profession and the patients we serve. ASHP has reached out to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and members of Congress to keep this critical issue at the forefront of policymakers and legislators.
Promoting the Role of Pharmacy Technicians
ASHP is engaged in advocacy initiatives that support the recruitment and retention of the technician workforce. Pharmacy technicians are a vital part of the pharmacy care team, and we need to permanently expand the scope of services provided by technicians, including vaccine administration, tech-check-tech programs, and many others.
Protecting Patient Access to Safe and Affordable Medication Use
The Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs recently released a drug shortage report incorporating ASHP’s recommendations for addressing national security risks in the drug supply chain and improving supply chain transparency and resilience. Congress has also passed legislation adopting many of ASHP’s recommendations. Our advocacy continues with ASHP-supported legislation, including encouraging generic and biosimilar competition and support for patient access to affordable medications.
Addressing Societal Barriers to Patient Care
ASHP is committed to advocating for policies addressing health disparities within the healthcare system, including disparities in access to medication therapy. We are strongly encouraging policymakers to expand pharmacist scope of practice in medically underserved areas to improve access to care, including pharmacist prescribing of MOUDs, pre-and post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV, and antivirals for COVID-19 and flu. And we continue our strong advocacy for patients’ access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare services and gender-affirming care.
Protecting the Sustainability of Health-System Pharmacy
ASHP continues to advocate for defending and preserving the 340B Drug Pricing Program. We encourage members to use our model 340B nondiscrimination legislation to protect the program at the state level. ASHP also advocates for the Preserving Rules Ordered for the Entities Covered Through (PROTECT) 340B Act. The act, which was recently reintroduced in Congress, would prohibit insurers and pharmacy benefit managers from harming hospitals and health systems that participate in the 340B program.
The elimination of payer-mandated white bagging also remains a key ASHP advocacy focus. Since 2021, 32 states have introduced legislation to curb this harmful practice, and at least nine states have passed legislation. Many successful bills were based on ASHP’s model legislation and supported through ASHP resources.
I am very pleased to celebrate these successes with you, but we also know that ASHP’s advocacy efforts must continue and expand to reflect the needs of our members, their patients, and the pharmacy profession. ASHP is grateful to be on this advocacy journey with you, and we look forward to continuing to share updates.
As always, thank you for all that you do for your patients and our profession.
Posted on April 26, 2023