[Ongoing effort; originally posted August 6, 2015]
Your United States Representatives and Senators are currently in recess during the month of August, which means they will likely be in your districts discussing issues that affect you and your patients. This also means that August is an excellent opportunity for you to invite your elected officials to your pharmacy practice site to discuss the importance of pharmacist-provided patient care services and to ask for their support for the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (known as H.R. 592 and S. 109). This legislation affects all pharmacists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy team members, regardless of practice site or pharmacy specialty.
Despite being considered as “medication experts” and regarded among the most knowledgeable, trusted, and accessible health care providers within our health care system, pharmacists have never received formal recognition as health care providers under federal law. Nearly all other health care professional services are covered under Medicare laws, including services delivered by many other essential health care providers, such as physicians, nurses, chiropractors, midwives, and dieticians, to name a few. However, services provided by pharmacists remain noticeably absent from coverage under Medicare Part B. Many of our national pharmacy organization partners have teamed up to form the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition (PAPCC). This coalition is working together to call on Congress to pass the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act, which would amend section 1861(s)(2) of the Social Security Act to enable Medicare beneﬁciaries to access pharmacist-provided services under Medicare Part B.
Key Aspects of H.R. 592 and S. 109
- Increases access and improves patient outcomes by enabling pharmacists to provide patient care services, consistent with their education, training and licenses.
- Promotes increased access to care for patients who are medically underserved.
- Promotes cost-effective health care by increasing access to, and opportunities for, early intervention at cost-effective settings.
Here are three very important links to resources created to assist you with the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act:
- Send a letter to your US legislators seeking support for the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (HR 592 / S 109). TPA has implemented a NEW easy-to-use advocacy tool which will auto-populate sample language for your letter, as well as supply contact information for your specific US legislators using the ZIP code you provide. Simply personalize the message(s), enter your ZIP code, and click Continue to enter your address and see the legislators you’ll be contacting. From there, you can reach them all with one click of a button.
- View the Complete Guide to Pharmacists as Providers. This link has everything you need to know about this very important patient care initiative, including tools, resources, and talking points to assist you.
- Access TPA’s NEW T-PLAN Advocacy In Action Center. The T-PLAN Advocacy In Action Center will be updated with new information about this campaign and about state and federal advocacy campaigns TPA undertakes in the future. Included are tools to look up your legislators and current legislation, as well as a Quick Sign Up tool allowing you to sign up to receive legislative alerts through the Tennessee Pharmacists Legislative Action Network (T-PLAN).