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Ensuring Patients' Access to Pharmacists' Services
$200 Raised
10% of $2k goal
9 contributors
0 days left
Ended May 26, 2014
After two decades of talk, a federal bill is finally introduced which aims to improve patients' outcomes by ensuring access to pharmacists' services. Please consider donating to support this great cause for the benefit of patients and ... More ...

After two decades of talk, a federal bill is finally introduced which aims to improve patients' outcomes by ensuring access to pharmacists' services. Please consider donating to support this great cause for the benefit of patients and to allow pharmacists to practice at the top of their license and training. 

Millions of Americans lack adequate access to primary health care and this is only expected to get worse as demand increases. Over the next two decades, the number of Medicare enrollees is expected to grow from roughly 50 million to over 80 million.i In addition, approximately 45% of Americans have at least one chronic condition, and 27% have multiple chronic conditions, rates that are expected to continue to rise.ii iii Further, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that an additional 25 million individuals will potentially be gaining health coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Factoring all of this in, the Association of American Medical Colleges projects that, by 2020, there will be more than 91,000 fewer doctors than needed to meet demand, and the impact will be most severe on underserved populations.
In the face of this anticipated shortage, pharmacists are conveniently accessible health care professionals who, in coordination and collaboration with other health care team providers, are capable of playing a greater role in the delivery of health care services. While pharmacists remain committed to assisting patients with access and information related to their prescription medications, pharmacists today are providing a broad spectrum of services, within their scope of practice, including conducting health and wellness testing, managing chronic diseases and performing medication management, administering immunizations, and working in and partnering with hospitals and health systems to advance health and wellness and helping to reduce hospital readmissions.

Access to pharmacists’ care
Physicians and certain non-physician health care professionals are reimbursed under Medicare Part B for providing necessary health care services. With very limited exceptions, pharmacists’ services are not reimbursed in this fashion. The lack of reimbursement of pharmacists for services provided within their state scope of practice unnecessarily limits patient access to certain health care services and the contributions pharmacists can make to their health care and outcomes. Enabling pharmacists to practice at the top of their education and training, and be better integrated into the patient’s health care team, will improve health outcomes and greatly benefit specific populations, especially those with chronic disease such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Key aspects of federal provider status legislation (H.R. 4190)
The bill seeks to increase access and improve quality by enabling pharmacists to provide patient care services as consistent with their education, training and license. Importantly, the federal legislation would not expand the types of services that pharmacists are permitted to provide. Eligible services would continue to be governed by state scope of practice laws.
The legislation promotes increased access to care for patients who are otherwise medically underserved. Specifically, the legislation focuses on care for underserved beneficiaries in MUAs, MUPs, and HPSAs, as designated by HRSA. As the shortage of primary care physicians increases, so too will the challenges that patients in underserved communities face, especially those related to access. This legislation can help address provider shortages and access issues in underserved areas.
The bill promotes cost-effective health care by increasing access to care and opportunities for early intervention at cost-effective settings so as to minimize long-term health care costs such as those associated with preventable higher-cost conditions. Consistent with precedent established in the Social Security Act for nurse practitioners and physician assistants, pharmacist services would be reimbursed at 85% of the physician fee schedule, unless they are operating under the direct supervision of a physician, in which case they would be reimbursed at 100% of the physician fee schedule. 

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