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4/9/2002
Press Release

Pharmacist Provider Coalition Gains New Support

The coalition working to provide Medicare patients with access to pharmacists’ medication therapy management services recently added three prominent pharmacy organizations to its growing list of supporters. The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP), the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP), and the American Pharmaceutical Association (APhA) have joined the founding members of the Pharmacist Provider Coalition (PPC)—the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP)—to secure passage of the Medicare Pharmacist Services Coverage Act of 2001 (S. 974 and H.R. 2799).

"These new coalition partners will significantly enhance PPC’s efforts by expanding the spectrum of pharmacy support for this important legislation," said ACCP Executive Director Robert M. Elenbaas, Pharm.D., FCCP.

The Medicare Pharmacist Services Coverage Act of 2001 would amend the Social Security Act to include pharmacists among the health care professionals classified as "health care providers." This recognition would allow pharmacists to bill Medicare for providing high-level patient care services. The Social Security Act currently recognizes a number of other health care professionals as "providers," including registered dieticians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, certified nurse midwives, and clinical social workers.

The legislation would significantly enhance patient safety and help contain rising national health care costs by ensuring that seniors at high risk for severe adverse reactions and other medication related problems have access to the medication-management services of pharmacists.

"Pharmacists in all health care settings have an important role in protecting patient safety," said Henri R. Manasse, Jr., Ph.D., Sc.D., chief executive officer and executive vice president of ASHP. "We are pleased that these national pharmacist organizations have joined us to ensure our nation’s seniors can receive the expert guidance of pharmacists."

The need for pharmacists’ involvement in drug therapy management is particularly important for patients age 65 and older, as they often take multiple medications and may have numerous health conditions. According to a recent survey conducted by ASHP, half of American seniors take five or more medications daily. Other research in respected medical literature such as the Journal of the American Medical Association has shown that when pharmacists are part of patient care teams, patients have fewer adverse drug events and experience improved outcomes, and health care costs are decreased. The Institute of Medicine’s November 1999 report on patient safety also recognized the value of pharmacists to patient care noting, "the pharmacist has become an essential resource and patient safety demands that access to the pharmacist’s expertise must be possible at all times."

To read the full text of the legislation or to learn more about the Pharmacist Provider Coalition, go to www.ashp.org/public/proad/compensation.

ASHP is the 31,000-member national professional association that represents pharmacists who practice in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, long-term care facilities, home care, and other components of health care systems. ASHP, which has a long history of medication-error prevention efforts, believes that the mission of pharmacists is to help people make the best use of medicines.

ACCP is a national professional and scientific society that provides leadership, education, advocacy, and resources enabling clinical pharmacists to achieve excellence in practice and research. ACCP’s membership is composed of practitioners, scientists, educators, administrators, students, residents, fellows, and others committed to excellence in clinical pharmacy and patient pharmacotherapy.

AMCP is a professional association of pharmacists and associates whose members serve over 200 million patients and the public by the promotion of wellness and rational drug therapy through the application of managed care principles.

ASCP is the international professional association representing 7,000 consultant pharmacists with expertise in providing medication therapy management and distribution services to seniors in long-term care facilities, assisted living settings, home care, and wherever they reside.

APhA is the first established and largest professional association of pharmacists in the United States. APhA's more than 50,000 members include practicing pharmacists, scientist pharmacists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and others interested in advancing the profession. The Association is a leader in providing professional information and education for pharmacists and an advocate for improved health through the provision of comprehensive pharmaceutical care.