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7/23/2002
Press Release

Patients Want Access to Pharmacists

Most Americans want to work with a pharmacist to monitor their medications while in a hospital or health system, according to a new survey conducted by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Eighty-three percent of Americans surveyed would be interested in having a pharmacist work closely with them and their physician to monitor how well their medication is working. Ninety-three percent of respondents who were interested in having a pharmacist monitor their medication said they would support this as a new Medicare benefit.

"This study is clear — patients would like the help of a pharmacist in managing their medications," said Henri R. Manasse, Jr., Ph.D., Sc.D., ASHP executive vice president and CEO. "For this reason, the Pharmacist Provider Coalition (PPC) is diligently working to ensure access to pharmacists through coverage for these services under Medicare."

The PPC supports the participation of pharmacists in drug therapy management, a process in which pharmacists work as part of the health care team to select appropriate drug therapies, educate patients, and monitor outcomes. Currently, the PPC is working to secure passage of the Medicare Pharmacist Services Coverage Act of 2001 (S. 974 and H.R. 2799).

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.

ASHP commissioned the poll of 1,004 adults nationwide between May 1 and 5, 2002. The data were weighted to reflect the demographic make-up of the adult U.S. population. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

For the full text of the survey report, go to www.ashp.org/public/public_relations/activities.html.

The Pharmacist Provider Coalition is composed of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP), the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP), and the American Pharmaceutical Association (APhA). To learn more about the Pharmacist Provider Coalition, go to www.ashp.org/public/proad/compensation.

ASHP is the 30,000-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.